Saturday, December 29, 2007

On Comparison

When we compare ourselves to others we deprive ourselves of the freedom in originality.

Envy fails to give God credit for what He has and what He will do in our lives.

No two paths are alike. And if they are, one is not authentic.

Who are we to tell God what He can and cannot, what He will or will not do?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Time

It's been a while. Sorry bout that. The show's going well, but leaving little time for blogging, since on my days off, I'm trying to make more money and spending it Christmas shopping. I'm paid to do the show, but, well, let's just say my paycheck leaves much to be desired, or much to be NEEDED...you know, for rent and nonessential things like that. But all is well! All is well. 'Tis the season for yuletide and carols, and the city is the best place to be in a season such as this. My Christmas season has truly begun. Yesterday we went to see the Rockettes with my parents, who are in town to see my show. And see my show, they did. Twice, in fact, because on Saturday night I got to go on as "Violet," which was nerve racking and fun all at the same time. So they came again on Sunday to see me in the ensemble. The Rockettes were really great. We saw the 75th anniversary Christmas Spectacular show, and it was quite enjoyable.What is it about girls kicking in a straight line that's so cool, and who figured that out? It was a full day with the parents yesterday. Brunch at Good Enough To Eat, one of our favorite restaurants down the street, a quick cab ride to Radio City Music Hall for a chance at getting into the 2 o'clock show, success, lots of sparkle and lots of leg, a warming cup of hot chocolate, a last minute trip to the Museum of Modern Art, where artists attempt to prove how inanimate objects arranged in puzzling formations is art, a brisk walk to Rockefeller Center to see the tree, dinner at Virgil's Barbecue (Oh yum), dessert at Nonna's, then back home to play two games of Scrabble, the first of which I came in second to my father, and the second of which I whupped major heinie, especially that of my dear husband, which is saying something because he ALWAYS beats me in Scrabble. ALWAYS. But NO LONGER. I am the champion.

And my show was reviewed by the New York Times. The picture below is from the article. The reviewer liked the cast and the new theater, but didn't think the show measured up to the movie. I get that. But come on. Everyone knows that nothing can measure up to the movie. Get real. Listen to the story. It's told well, and it's a life-changing story. And in my opinion, the music is really good. Resembles Sondheim. Great lyrics. But it's a critic's job, so whatever. Here's the article.


I'm the first girl from right to left. You can see my little head directly above the guy kneeling.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Wonderful Life

My show opened this past weekend. I've had Monday through Wednesday off, a needed break after an intense rehearsal schedule with techs and dress. Back to it tomorrow. We've got a big week this week with double shows on Saturday and Sunday, so 6 shows in 4 days. I'm loving it!

I have a fantastic cast. Not only are they all extremely talented, they are sincere and kind people. I've become close friends with many of them and look forward to seeing everyone again on Thursday. Here's a couple of pics.

At the high school dance. I'm on the left. We have a really fun Charleston number in these costumes.

Here we are as angels. (Go ahead and laugh.) We surround Clarence the "angel second class" as he dreams of getting his wings. Again, I'm on the left. Nice Carol Channing wigs, huh?

So that's what I've been doing. I'll post more pics as I get them. I'm relying on everyone else because I no longer have a camera.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Belonging

Today, amidst a bout of discouragement and self-pity, I remembered I hadn't prayed. I silently prayed the Lord's prayer.

Heavenly Father, hallowed be Thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven


That's as far as I got. I thought on that phrase alone. By those words I remembered I belong to Him. That my reality must be set within that frame of mind, within the kingdom of God. When I live a reality of belonging to my Creator, the rest makes sense, and the inward glare of despair turns outward into the unseen world around me, and that which is seen is seen by the light of that invisible yet tangible kingdom. There I can rest in knowing that I am His and not this world's. There I find peace. Comfort. Joy. Relief.

There I let go of that which I think I need, and I see what I have. I see what others don't have, but what they need. Most of all I feel known by God, and kept. Kept safe. Kept right. Kept and loved. From where I sit, this place feels more alone, but less lonely. More vivid. More clear.

And full. So much more full.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Caution: Proactive Provides Damaging Solutions


This is the stuff I use to wash my face. As you can very well see, Jessica Simpson uses it, too. At least she says she does. At least she makes bazookoos of money saying she does. But, I'm wondering...does it bleach Jessica's eyebrows, too?

A curious phenomenom is occurring on my face. The very top of my eyebrows (usually brown, naturally to match my hair) are turning bleach blond. But it's just the top of my eyebrows. So right now my eyebrows are somewhat two-toned.

I first noticed this about two months ago when talking to Seth. As he pretended to listen to me ramble on about whatever, his focus kept shifting from my eyes to my eyebrows. I finally stopped to ask.

"What are you looking at?"

Seth furrowed his own brow, ultimately perplexed. "Your eyebrows are changing colors."

"My eyebrows are changing colors?"

He studied my eyebrows intensely. "Yeah, just the top."

"What?" I reached for the mirror in my bag. "Oh, weird. Yeah, they're changing colors. Maybe's its the way the sun hits them in New York when I have my sunglasses on." (Hey, it was the best I could come up with.)

I resumed telling my story, but not without intermittent pauses as I waited while Seth sat distracted by my eyebrows.

Then, as I talked to my mom on a recent visit to Oklahoma, she stopped me mid-sentence and moved closer to examine my face.

"Amber, did you know your eyebrows are changing colors?" she asked, quite concerned. Then she laughed.

"OK. This is ridiculous. Yes, I know my eyebrows are changing colors. Is it that bad?"

Later my mom called. She had an idea. What if my facewash that I've been using for the past...oh...6 years or so has been accidentally getting into my eyebrows all this time, and now the effects are showing. And sure enough, as I washed my face that night, I saw that my facewash has been dripping into the top of my eyebrows...for 6 years!

So I'm wondering if Jessica has this problem, too, and what she's doing to remedy it. I don't want to change my facewash. I like it. It works. But I can't go walking around with two-toned eyebrows. Jessica, you're the only one who can help. Save me. What do I do?

Monday, November 12, 2007

In My Kitchen, part II

Our super came today and sealed holes around the piping in the cabinets underneath the sink. And he set a trap.

Now see, this causes another problem. If Mickey gets caught in the trap, you're crazy if you think I'm touching that thing to throw it out the window, or kill it like my father-in-law does, by STOMPING on it. Uh-uh. No sirrree. And Seth's out of town. (Of course, I have to see the dadgum mouse when he's out of town.)

So I've remedied the problem. My next door neighbor has agreed to deal with it if I catch Mickey.

My next door neighbor's 18 and just out of high school. I think he hates me now for asking because I could see in his face that he was just being nice. Oh well. I'm very thankful for his manners, and I hope he doesn't hate me. He's a really great kid who's on Broadway, actually. He hasn't been working for the past few days, though, because of the stagehand strike. Most Broadway has gone dark, if you haven't read it in the papers. So since he has so much free time, I've requested he rid me of my mouse.

Let's all just hope Mickey decides not to visit again. For his sake and mine, and my next door neighbor's.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In My Kitchen

I just saw a mouse peek its little head out from beneath the kitchen sink.

A MOUSE.

In my kitchen.

Dad friggin gummit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

At the Diner

Today I tried Matzah Ball soup.

I traded it in for French Onion.

Hey. I tried.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What to say

It's not that I don't want to blog. It's that I'm having a hard time figuring out what to say.

My life now consists of auditioning and babysitting. And now rehearsing. I'm taking a break from auditioning (thank the good Lord above) because I booked a show. Woo hoo! It's a Wonderful Life, the musical. Didn't know that was a musical till I auditioned for it. I'll be understudying the role of Violet. She's the trampish character (modestly trampish, more like excessively flirtatious). Remember from the movie? George Bailey gives her money, but she selflessly returns it in the end. Rehearsals start tomorrow.

The babysitting is calling forth my maternal instinct, which has since been buried deep under discontent and nomadic tendencies. But the biological clock is ticking away, ticking, ticking away, and I actually told Seth we have to be in a position to have children in a year.

I quickly reconsidered, and sanity (or is it insanity?) resumed its place in the forefront of my mind.

I'm reading Jane Eyre and have fallen in love with it.

I'm editing a book for my Renaissance man of a husband, who just decides one day that he wants to write a novel, and so does. And it's the funniest thing I've ever read....ever.

And I'm trying to figure out how to fit my blender and good set of knives into my new kitchen down the hall from my old kitchen, and counting the days until my dad comes again to hang more shelves. He's the greatest shelf hanger of all time. Seth can write a novel but doesn't really like hanging shelves.

Last but not least, I had the worst audition of my life today. The worst...ever. Synopsis: "Mean casting director is relentlessly harsh and condescending to a flustered auditionee." First layer of thick skin applied...moving on.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Defeating God?

I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of wrestling with God and man. I’m tired.

Jacob wrestled with God and what did Jacob receive? No answer, but a new name, and a blessing. For fighting with God. Is that weird to anyone else? That Jacob, in a sense, overcame God. It feels disrespectful to write. But that’s what it says: “because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” That Jacob won and got what he wanted. “I will not let you go until you bless me.” God gave in, I suppose. He didn’t actually change His will to fit Jacob’s demand, because God had already promised Jacob a blessing. But he gave up the fight and did what Jacob asked. Jacob walked away with a blessing and a limp.

Then why did God wrestle? Why was it necessary? If God was just going to give in eventually, why put Jacob to the test at all?

Perhaps to see how badly Jacob needed God’s blessing, that which could come from God, not from man or personal, inner strength. To see how much Jacob needed answers. How much would Jacob give to hear from God? How long would he persevere to obtain God’s promise?

Just thoughts after the sermon this morning and a lazy afternoon. It was a fight to move to this city and now it’s a fight to stay. Seems like you fight your way through the day sometimes.

But while we wrestle every day with man, in a sense we’ve “defeated” God, and been given the blessing we so desperately seek: to see God and live. He’s given up the fight on the cross. He, through Jesus Christ, has taken the beating for us and from us, but has left us with an injured hip. We walk with a limp, but will one day be restored completely. We serve a merciful God, full of grace and overwhelming goodness, who gave in to the demands of the law for us, so that we might live.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blogpology

We are internet-less again. Will be a bad blogger for the next week or so until we can sort out our lives again. Bummer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Missed My Church Today

We meant to get up for church this morning. Wanted to make the 11 AM service at St. Thomas, an Episcopal church at 53rd and 5th Ave. We have visited there twice now, and find ourselves craving more of the liturgy and choral Mass. But we were out late last night at a friend's party where we played "Catch Phrase" and "Taboo" until way too late. So we missed the morning service and tried to make the Evensong 4 PM service. But the subways ran so behind that it took us an hour to get there, making us entirely too late. We ended up not going, and instead made the night service at Redeemer Presbyterian where they did a very weirded-out-meter jazz arrangement of "In Christ Alone" that required way too much thought toward how to sing the melody, the very reason why I think worship and jazz don't quite work together. But hey, that's just me.

As I struggled to sing a complex rhythm to a hymn whose beauty should be found in its simplicity, I missed my church in Houston and I missed my friends there. I missed singing the simple rhythm of a beautiful hymn and being moved together toward holiness in a way that is familiar to me. And that's when I finally understood why tradition is important, and why some church members and leaders fear change and resist it. Why some people like to sing from the book and not off the wall. And that I've judged certain people who enjoy what's comfortable. Maybe not out loud, but in my thoughts, but maybe out loud, too.

I missed what was comfortable and wanted so badly to just sing the hymn the right way. Just sing it the way it was written. Because that's the way I knew it. But I noticed people around me worshipping and singing and meaning it. And I realized that this was how they knew it.

For some reason, it felt good to miss my church. It must have been the sense of belonging. Or maybe it's because I had something that was good, and it feels good to have had it. Feels good to get that what I had was good. I'm not sure we always get it. But anyway,

I missed my church today.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What's Your Name?

Saw this on 4andcounting's blog and couldn't resist.

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME:
(first pet & current car)

Tyra Ford

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME:
(fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)

Mint Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip

3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME:
(first letter of first name, first three letters of last name)

Awar

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME:
(favorite color, favorite animal)

Red Dog

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME:
(middle name, city where you were born)

Christina Moore

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME:
(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

WarAm

7. SUPERHERO NAME:
(”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink)

The Green Mojito

8. NASCAR NAME:
(the first names of your grandfathers)

Skeeter Floyd

10.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:
(mother’s & father’s middle names )

Jean Ross

11. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME:
(Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter)

Fry Florence

12. SPY NAME:
(your favorite season/holiday, flower)

Christmas Gerber Daisy

13. CARTOON NAME:
(favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)

Apple Pajamasie

14. HIPPIE NAME:
(What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree)

Bagel Magnolia

15. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME:
(”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”

The Dance Breeze Tour

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Apartment Saga: The End

Continued from previous post.

I took out my hand sanitizer, shared it with Seth, and figured it couldn't get any worse than this.

Thankfully, it didn't. In fact, I found out when we got home that our next door neighbor's bathroom vent had leaked brown nastiness all over his bathroom....4 times. And Jamaican Michael had guys exterminate my neighbor's apartment, too, but they had no idea what they were doing, and sprayed all over my neighbor's new furniture and couch, ruining it. And his dishwasher malfunctioned so that the water backed up in the pipes and flooded the girl's ceiling underneath him, warping his wood floors as well. And his oven only cooked the top of the food and not the bottom, so his pizza and cookies came out well-done on top, but gooey on the bottom.

And my neighbor's apartment was the apartment we thought we were getting. Apartment A, if you remember. So, I'm thankful we didn't end up with Apartment A.

Turns out the management company got smart and hired a certified extermination company to come out and spray the ENTIRE building for bed bugs. No, Jamaican Michael was not properly certified for bed bug inspection. When the certified company searched the building, they said they found no bed bugs anywhere, and what people were finding were in fact tiny spiders that look very similar to bed bugs. So the entire first floor of our building moved out for no reason at all. I'm not sure about all that, because Fred was definitely a bed bug. I saw the tiny spiders they were talking about, and Fred looked much different than the tiny spiders, and very like the picture of the bed bug on the internet. And a guy on the first floor claimed to have been bit at least 50 times, and I don't think those tiny little spiders bite that much. But hey, a certified bed bug company sprayed, and I bought a mattress cover just in case. Hallelujah. I'm over it.

I know for sure that they sprayed because I found a cockroach lying on its back on the floor next to my couch, although I refuse to dwell on the implications of such a thing.

So my story has a happy ending. We're not going anywhere, and a bunch of this bed bug stuff might have been alot of rumors and hype.

I did find out, through this series of unfotunate events, that our building, prior to our landlord's purchase and renovation of the place, was a crack house and a whore house. Supposedly, a man was murdered on the front steps, and another died on the third floor. Fourteen people shared a studio the same size as ours. Supposedly. Supposedly our buidling was infested with bed bugs. Supposedly.

THE END

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Apartment Saga: Stella

Continued from previous post

After several silent and suspenseful seconds of intense study, Michael, with eyes cast downward looking grimly at our Fred, said softly after a quick nod:

"Dis is de bug."

Wonderful. Just wonderful. Bed bugs in our apartment the THIRD WEEK of living in Manhattan. I thought they had exterminated for those? Obviously not. No, see, what they did was SAY they would exterminate, and then they told us everything was fine, and it wasn't fine. And I was itching all over. It's amazing how sensitive your skin becomes when you imagine bugs crawling all over your body in the middle of night, sucking your blood, and then going to hide away and lay eggs.

Gross.

So, thankfully, our management company agreed to put us up in a hotel that night, while Jamaican man Michael officially exterminated. I was surprised that they agreed. If they wouldn't have agreed, we would have high tailed it out of this place. And at the time we had plans to do that very thing. I called my broker and set up an appointment the next week to look for apartments.

But an interesting thing happened.

We had a relatively nice stay at The Amsterdam Inn (which, upon arrival, I noticed the shared bathrooms and thought I might cry again. But we had a private bathroom so it was all good.) BUT. We soon realized that WE MISSED OUR LITTLE HOBBIT HOLE! The apartment with no closets and hardly any windows! It had become our home! Our neighborhood had invaded our psyche and we belonged to it and it belonged to us. We were miserable away from it. Even the pounding and the fear of bed bugs couldn't keep us away. We wanted to go back HOME.

And back home we went the next afternoon, but not before perhaps the worst of all experiences.

We were told to wait until around 5 PM to return the next day, so Seth and I spent a good bit of time in the Barnes and Noble Cafe down the street from our place. We had been pleasantly sitting and reading for an hour, when a man with two little girls sat down at the adjoining table directly to our right. The little girls were beautiful. Probably ages 5 and 3. Dark, curly hair and brown eyes. And the Dad kept calling one of them Stella and she kept calling him Papa. He sounded British.

Stella, the five year old, kept looking our way and smiling. We kept looking her way and smiling.

It was a special day for Stella and her sister. A special day because they got an oatmeal cookie at the Barnes and Noble. And an even more special day because they got hot chocolate after the oatmeal cookie. All this if they finished their vegetable pizza, which they did.

But I suppose special days have certain special consequences, because all of the sudden, Papa was leaning over Stella, asking if she felt alright. And Stella was shaking her head, no. And then Papa reached for the paper cup that just seconds ago had held the hot chocolate. And Stella leaned her little face over it. And then I turned away and heard sounds of spurting liquid hitting the bottom of a cup.

I gagged. I avoided looking. Papa said, "Are you done?" And Stella shook her head no. And then more sounds of liquid spurting into a cup. I placed my right index finger inside my right ear and stared at the laptop computer in front of me. Stella kept looking our way, embarrassed. We no longer looked her way. Smiles were gone. My face was hot. Please be done. Please be done. Papa ran to the counter for another cup. Stella panicked, and Papa made it back just in time. PLEASE be done.

Finally it was over. They left the cafe, an embarassed Papa, a crying Stella, and a confused little sister. I felt sorry for Stella and her dad. I felt sorry for myself that I couldn't go home and instead had to sit next to a puking child on a rainy day after I found a bed bug in my bed. I took out my hand sanitizer, shared it with Seth, and figured it couldn't get any worse than this.

TO BE CONTINUED (just once more)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Apartment Saga: De Bug

So I have recently been cured of caring what other people think.

OK.

We stay with Apartment B. Our apartment building is being completely renovated, which is nice because everything is new. What's not so nice is that construction on the building continues 7 days a week. They're behind.

I go home and pack and itinerize the move. You see, itiineraries are necessary when living with an A.D.D. man. Especially when our A.D.D. friend offers to help with the move so he can bum a free trip to New York City off of us. Not that I'm complaining or anything. Couldn't have done it without him. He and Seth drove the moving truck to New York City while I flew with my parents. I'm not complaining at all.

The two A.D.D. men arrived with their itinerary earlier than scheduled, and the Super of the building (which up here is the guy that fixes everything when it breaks), who is in charge of the renovations , made all of his workers help us move our boxes up three flights of stairs. It was a good move on his part, because now, when the Hispanic men yell and scream and sing at the top of their lungs at 7 o'clock in the morning, we can't get too mad because they all made our move-in bearable. Or when they bang so hard on the floor above us that debris falls from the ceiling onto our brand new sleeper sofa, we can't get too mad. Or when we find out they're going to add a sixth floor to our building, or when they don't have the laundry facility finished downstairs so I have to haul ass with two tons laundry up a couple of blocks to the laundromat, or when we don't get our UPS mail because they haven't installed the call box by the front door, or when they turn off the water without telling us, or when they randomly decide to tinker around with the cable cords somewhere and we have no internet for a daywe try not to get too mad.

But last week came the straw that broke the camels back.

I found a bed bug in our apartment.

It was Friday morning. The night before, our next door neighbor relayed the news that a girl on the third floor thought she found a bed bug in her apartment. After the news circulating about the bed bugs on the first floor (which had been exterminated), we were beside ourselves. This meant they were crawling up the walls or were already in the walls. That was it. We were getting out of this place. We thoroughly checked our mattress and clothes and saw nothing. No bugs.

The next morning we woke up with no bites. I got out of bed, showered, and began getting ready for the day. I sat down on our bed, and already cautious of creepy crawly critters, I looked down at the sheets on which I was sitting, and lo and behold a little tick-like thing was scurrying toward me. I jumped up, cried, "Seth, Seth, Seth," pointed, and almost cried. We captured the bed bug alive and held him hostage in a plastic baggy.

We looked around for more but found none.

Nevertheless, we marched our bed bug, whom I nicknamed "Fred", around town in his plasitc baggy as we looked at new apartments, and then to our management office. We kindly demanded the immediate extermination of our apartment and a place to stay for the night. Thankfully, they took care of us. An exterminator came to our room, whose name is Michael. Michael is Jamaican. He stepped inside the hobbit hole and asked for us to show him the bug. We gave him the plastic baggy and he set it under the light, examining the specimen inside the bag. After several silent and suspenseful seconds of intense study, Michael, with eyes cast downward looking grimly at our Fred, said softly after a quick nod:

"Dis is de bug."

continuing TO BE CONTINUED

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Apartment Saga: Apartment B

Apartment B.

We signed for it on the dotted line and hadn't known it.

Brokers check? Paid.

Security deposit? Paid.

First and last month's rent? Paid.

They had our money. I had no more time. They said they would let us out of our lease, and I suppose they would have reimbursed us, but who knows! The point was we had to be out of our Houston apartment in two weeks, and I needed to come home and pack. And organize. And throw stuff away. And sell cars. And sell couches and a table and chairs. And say good-bye.

We had to make a choice. Option 1: We pay ALOT more money for happy Apartment A. Option 2: We pay more money for a bigger apartment in the same building, also moving in at a later date and therefore putting all our stuff in storage and staying with my parents in Tulsa. Option 3: I stay longer and start the process all over again, while Seth packed up all our stuff and organized and...yeah, not an option. (Sorry, my dear, but we both know you would have rather lit the whole place on fire than be in charge of packing it all up. Plus you were working. I know I know.) Option 4: We keep what we have and deal. Even if we were wronged, purposefully or accidentally.

This decision was a turning point in my life. Here's what I mean. This decision was damn hard to make, and not a soul on earth could make this decision for us. And some of those souls had some very strong opinions as to what we should do. Very strong. I'm finding that people who aren't you have a tendency to think they know better than you what you should do. And the problem with me was that I always thought they knew better, too. Decision making for me was a fretful ordeal, wondering who I would please and displease with my decision.

But God, faithfully answering prayer, made it clear. Apartment A, the happy apartment but much more expensive, the one we wanted, was rented, deal sealed, that very morning, the morning our decision had to be made. OK, so that option: gone.

Now the real kicker. We could have waited and moved later. We could have stayed with my parents. It would have worked. Here's where the decision was really actually very simple.

What was our desire? What did we want?

We wanted to move to New York City....sooner rather than later.

What did it cost?

Some space, a closet, and bigger windows.

What did it require?

Humility. Faith. Creativity. Fortitude. Hope. Perseverence. Surrender.

Weird, huh? What we wanted required surrender. God's still requiring it of me, because I fight every day to do it. And....there's more.

TO BE CONTINUED again

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Apartment Saga

Will the apartment saga never end?

I should fill you in first. I can't remember how much Seth has written about it.

When we decided to move to New York City, we weren't sure when that would be. We debated over waiting until the new year or moving in August/September. After deciding to wait until the new year, the gut inside both of us remained uneasy. Sometimes that's the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I don't know. But nevertheless we re-decided it should be sooner rather than later.

We gave notice to our apartment to move out August 30. I flew to New York City to look for apartments. Seth stayed in Houston to work. I have friends who live in Astoria, which is right outside Manhattan and right inside Queens, and because I've stayed with my friends a few times, I became aquainted with the area. And I liked it. It's quaint. Alot of sky. Cute rows of houses and a bit more affordable. So I found a place there I liked, and I showed the pictures to Seth. It was a one-bedroom. Very spacious, clean, cute. I liked it.

But my gut feeling wouldn't agree with my brain. Although I knew it would be more expensive, I couldn't help but think Manhattan. I knew Seth loved Manhattan, but he was completely fine with Astoria. The only way for me to explain it was that I felt something spiritual and healthy about Manhattan that I didn't feel about Astoria. And the only thing holding me back from living there was the expense. I brought it up to Seth, and he felt the same way.

So Seth and I had a talk about trusting God. God can and will provide for us. We have nothing to fear. So that was it. Manhattan it was. I have a friend who lives on the Upper West Side, and we LOVE the Upper West Side. And amazingly I found this great studio apartment, bigger than most, for an amazing price. A miracle price, so my friend told me that lives down the street. I'm happy. Seth's happy. We sign the lease. (a process that takes a week in Manhattan due to the approval process) We're happy. We're going to live around the corner from a church to which we've felt drawn. Turns out, that same church needs a permanent building, and that same church is gutting out the parking garage right across the street from our happy Upper West Side apartment.

And then I receive a phone call. The day before I'm scheduled to fly back to Houston. It was bad news. We signed a lease for what we thought was Apartment, I'll just say, A. Apartment A. See, Apartment A was this great studio with two large windows and a big closet, a studio big enough for a bed, a couch, a T.V., and a work station. The Apartment I visited was Apartment A. The one that I liked, that Seth liked, with which we were both so happy, was Apartment A. But due to a series of mistakes through miscommunication between our broker, the management company, and the non-English speaking Hispanic worker that showed us the apartment, we signed a lease for Apartment B, thinking it was Apartment A. BECAUSE the non-English speaking Hispanic worker who showed us Apartment A told us that it was Apartment B. We sign a lease which states on the top: Apartment B....all the while having happy thoughts about Apartment A. Following me?

Apartment B is half the size, has no closet, and has a small window that looks directly out to a brick wall on every side, with light coming in from above.

And that is what our lease, signed with happy thoughts, stated on the top: Apartment B.

TO BE CONTINUED

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ha Ha H-HA Ha!

I got to see an advanced screening of the Jesse James movie last night.

An advanced screening, by invitation only.

Yeah, me!

My friend temps for some big exec over at MTV, and when he got his invite in the mail, he didn't want to go and handed it over to her. And she called me. So we sat in a mini movie theatre with other big time entertainment execs on the 10th floor of the Time Warner Building, and watched a movie before anybody else in the city! I did glance around for famous people, but I beheld none. I guess you gotta be at the big shmoozy premiers for that. All in good time, all in good time. Ha.

Yeah.

That brings me to another point here. Everyone in this city tells these celebrity sighting stories, and so far I've seen zilch. Nada. No one. Famous, that is. Oh well. I did see The Monk (don't know his real name, sadly) in a restaurant when I was here with my mom. But that's it. None since we've lived here.

However, I did witness a crazy scene on the street at Broadway and 83rd. A woman, she looked Middle Eastern, was shouting at the top of her lungs. CALL THE POLICE! CALL THE POLICE!! GET AWAY FROM ME! SOMEBODY, CALL THE POLICE. I couldn't see her at first because of the crowd gathered around her. I saw New Yorkers around me stop walking, look over at the scene, and take out their phones. Then they slowly but surely made their way over to the large crowd. I did the same, except I didn't talk out my phone. Figured enough people had called 911 already. And when I got there, I saw this gigantic black woman practically on top of this Middle Eastern woman, pinning her down, flat on the ground. The woman was screaming and squirming. Her eyes bloodshot and crazy.

So I ask this woman next to me what happened.

And she said that the Middle Eastern woman and a man, perhaps her husband, were coming out of the store, and supposedly had stolen something from the store. The woman had a baby in her arms. Well, the security guard started pulling on the woman and tackeling her...with the baby still in the woman's arms. So she goes crazy, hands the baby over to the man, and tells him to run, while the woman screams for the police because this security guard was about to harm her baby.

Whacked out is what I say.

The New Yorkers were all mad at the security guard for tackeling this woman with the baby, and I'm thinking, well if the woman's gonna rob a store with a baby in her arms....maybe she should think twice and leave the kid at home.

I know. She may not have stolen anything, and if that were the case, well then, the security guard's got some 'splaining to do.

Oh, and yesterday morning, while crossing the intersection at Amsterdam, I stepped on someone's thong.

Gross.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bed Bugs

No we don't have them (knock on wood, EVERYONE!!). But Seth finally told me last night that there's a rumor going around our building that someone downstairs reported bed bugs. He didn't tell me for a while because I am deathly scared of bed bugs. I've never had them (knock on wood, EVERYONE, PLEEEEASE!!!!). I'm almost as scared of them as I am of crickets. I hate crickets. Mostly because of a traumatic experience as a child. I woke up (I think I was 3 or something, already in a big girl bed) to the loudest chirping ever. I mean, LOUD. Right by my ear loud.

I screamed bloody murder and scurried out of bed to run to my parents room. I wasn't sure where in my room the cricket was, and at the last minute, right before running out of my room, I thought the cricket might be in the doorway. So...I decided to jump through the doorway, and in doing so, missed the open doorway and jumped into the wooden panneled side of the doorway. It really hurt. But it didn't phase me. I just kept running.

My parents had heard my scream and met me in the living room.

"There's a cricket! A cricket's in my room! Help me! Help!" I pleaded.

My parents walked me into my room and turned the light on. My dad found the cricket, which was nestled into the stuffed animals to the left of my bed. My dad asked me if I had seen the cricket.

"Uh-huh," I weepily nodded, and really thought I had.

"How big was the cricket?" my dad asked, with a slight grin, which at the time, I didn't understand at all. This wasn't funny,

"It was this big!" and I spread my little 3-year-old arms as wide as they would go.


I didn't sleep by myself for weeks. I couldn't. There might be a cricket in my bed. I woke my parents up night after night to sleep with them. Sometimes my mom brought her alarm clock into my room and slept with me. One night, they grew tired of the shenanagin, and tried locking me out of their room, in hopes I'd just give up and go to bed.

Nope. I pounded and wailed and pleaded. And I got my way.

Finally, my parents had the exterminator come out. My mom told me that this man was going to go everywhere in our house and kill all the crickets.

"Really?" I asked. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy.

I followed the exterminator around the entire time and made sure he went through the entire house.

That night I slept like a baby....all by myself. I slept on my side, hugging my knees to my chest, curled into a very tight ball, just in case the man missed a cricket in my bed.

So you see, the idea of bed bugs thoroughly scares the bageebees out of me. Seth checked last night. The coast was clear, and I slept fine. Then this morning, who appeared at our door, but TWO exterminators! Glorious!

Monday, September 10, 2007

After One Week....

This city is like an abusive boyfriend. (Note I didn't say abusive husband lest you fear for my safety in Seth's care. All is well and good in the Ward Hobbit Hole) But really, when it's bad it can be really stinkin' harsh. Take, for instance, sitting on a hot day in a restaurant with no air conditioning. Or blisters the size of Texas on your feet. Or sitting in an audition room for 5 hours just waiting to get seen so you can sing for 1 minute for a man who's already heard 200 good singers in the 5 hours you waited. Or the cazillion steps climbed in a day's excursion. Fitting two lives into 250 square feet.

But when it's good, it's so good that the bad is readily forgiven, maybe too quickly forgiven? It's the walk in Central Park on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. It's Cafe Lalo down the street with the most amazing chocolate mousse cake. It's not worrying about the chocolate mousse cake because of the cazillion steps. It's sitting in a Sunday night church service and feeling that you belong completely. It's the one minute of singing after the five hours of waiting. It's coming home to the most cozy 250 square feet imaginable. The satisfaction of conquering, of overcoming, all of the bad that one day could muster.

So I take it back. It's not like an abusive boyfriend at all. It's real, soul-searching, soul-testing life, and it's worth living.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Coming Up for Air...

via McDonalds on Broadway and 81st.

We have no internet in our apartment, which we have now dubbed...

The Ward Hobbit Hole on West 83rd Row

A lyric awaits you here.

Salude.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bad News at the Dentist

I had a dentist appointment to get my teeth cleaned today. at 7:10 AM!!! It was the only time they could fit me in, and I really needed a good ‘ole cleaning before moving to New York because I'm not up to dentist searching in crazy land. So I said oh brother and took the time. I avoided the 5's this morning by taking a shower last night, rolling out of bed, downing two cups of coffee, brushing my teeth twice (because that's what you do before a teeth cleaning, especially after two cups of coffee) and heading out the door, groggy but on time.

My cleaning went very well, way better than expected, because she said I was brushing well and hardly had any build up. This was very positive news to me because I don't floss even though I tell them every visit that I will. Even more exciting than that was that the cleaning didn't hurt at all! It must be what that one dentist lady told me a few years ago. She told me the right way to brush. I guess that really WAS the right way. They all tell you the right way, but this one lady must have really had it.

You put your toothbrush (toothpaste and all) right where your teeth meet your gums. Then you tilt the brush ever so slightly toward the gums, up on the top, down on the bottom. Then, you brush in a small circular motion, gently, not harshly, so that you can feel the bristles of the brush reach under your gums. But the trick is to do this gently, so it massages your gums, or you'll just bleed everywhere. It really works! My cleanings are getting less and less painful as the years go by!

But there was a problem this morning. I sat in the chair at 7:10 AM, and the first thing she did was take my blood pressure. I don't really get why the dentist needs to do that, but whatever. She checked the diddelydad when it was finished and said, "Wow, is your blood pressure always this low?"

"Uh," I said, "I don't know. What is it?"

"92 over 45."

"Huh." I said, but secretly I had no idea what those numbers meant.

"Yeah, that’s really low,” she said apparently sensing I was ignorant to blood pressure lingo.

"Oh." And I worried about it the rest of the cleaning.

So I did some research when I came home and this is what I read on the internet.

Low blood pressure (hypotension) is pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally. When the blood pressure is not sufficient to deliver enough blood to the organs of the body, the organs do not work properly.

Well no kidding! My low blood pressure must have been due to the fact that I had to get up at the crack to sit in her chair! My organs never function properly at that hour of the morning. I'm not worried anymore.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Spy with My Little Eye....

Here's a pic of all the things worth keeping that came out of our now sold cars. You don't want to see the discarded items pile. How embarassing.


But let's play "I Spy" to all the things worth keeping out of Seth and Amber's car. Why? Because it's after midnight on Saturday night and I just finished a MAJOR project of tossing somewhat wanted clothes into Goodwill bags, sorting through shoes and sweaters and belts and dresses and skirts, making big time decisions here, people. Reserving moving trucks. Reserving movers. Reserving flights. Making itineraries. Trying to figure out how our entire life fits into one small square of space. And I need a little no-brainer entertainment in my life.

So let's play a game. Here we go.

I spy...

Friday, August 24, 2007

We're Moving to NYC!!!...And Selling Our Car!

2001 Ford Exlporer Sport. Black with tan interior. 2 door automatic. Good condition. Good tires. GREAT car. I will miss it, but it's a hassel to own a car in NY, so it's gotta go. PICTURES HERE

CD and cassette player. Power windows, power locks, power steering, cruise control, keyless entry, good sound system, tinted privacy windows...

125,000 miles. Most are road miles, being musicians and all. It's taken us on quite a few gigs. One time owner...me! And I've taken good care of it, regular oil changes and a new set of tires.

If we weren't moving, I'd drive this little SUV forever. Great buy.

We need to sell this FAST!

$4500. We'll sell it for $4000 if you act fast. Spread the word!

PICTURES HERE

If you're interested, email us at sethward@mac.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're Moving to NYC!!!

You already know, if you read Seth's blog, and most of you do. (Observation: Everytime I write, "if you read Seth's blog," I nearly always follow it with "and most of you do." So henceforth if I am blogging on a topic already mentioned by my husband, then I'll always say, quite naturally, "blah blah blah dee blabady bloo....if you read Seth's blog, and most of you do." Just so you know.) So thanks alot, Seth, for stealing my thunder about the move. But you started blogging before me, so in my line of reasoning, you hold the right to blog about it first.

Most things I have to say about this move I will reserve for a later time when I'm not doped up on Mucinex DM. (I'm telling you, that stuff makes me bonkers.) I caught a nasty cold in NYC and have almost lost my voice entirely, but thanks to Mucinex DM, I can vociferate, which means to "shout, complain, or argue loudly." I know this because I had first written "vocificate," which I believed to mean "utter any sound with the vocal chords." Clearly I made that word up. My vocal chords thank thee, Mucinex DM.

Here are some things I learned in the Big Apple:

1. Don't help old ladies cross the street.

2. The term "very light" in regards to the creamer added when ordering coffee at the local bagel shop alludes to the color of the coffee, not to the amount of calories.

3. People in New York stand "on line" instead of "in line."

4. The naked cowboy is really, really tan.

5. The D train stops locally until a certain point and then all of the sudden becomes express and it's a very...very long time until the next stop.

6. The place to buy music is called...oh shoot, what's it called? Company? I don't think that's right.

7. The partial-viewing box seats for 25 bucks at the Mary Poppins show are precisely partial-viewing and require one to lean halfway out of the box to see half the scenes, and still only half the stage is seen.

8. Rebecca Luker, who plays Mrs. Banks in Mary Poppins, is more magical than Mary Poppins played by Ashley Brown, although Ashley Brown has one of the most delightful voices I've ever heard.

9. You can hear incredible jazz in Greenwich Village, which is pronounced GRENNICH Village and not GREEN-WITCH Village. The rock and folk and whatever else is found on the East side.

10. Ordering a grilled chicken salad for $15 does not give you a gigantic salad like you'd think, but a very small salad, leaving you hungry still and in dire need of the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Pie at The Brewry in The Empire State Building.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rules That Don't Apply in NYC

Yesterday I was speedily crossing a busy street, daring the blinking red hand in the sign in front of me, when the blinking red hand became a solid red hand. My speedy walk turned into a scurry, and at that time, I noticed the old lady with the walker walking across the same street, with the same solid red hand staring at her, a car rushing towards her. She took two tiny steps with each forward push of her walker, between each of the two tiny steps a lingering two seconds, and between each push of her walker and the next pair of steps, a lifetime.

The car continued to barrel towards her. My southern manners kicked in, and I abruptly stopped running, turned around, and approached the frail woman with the walker.

"Ma'am? Can I help you?" I said as sweetly as possible with the ever-looming car in my peripheral vision. But instead of hearing the expected thin, cracking voice of an old, tired woman, my hospitality was met with a high-pitched, nasally, and very...VERY loud voice, spoken with the best of New York accents (of which I will spare you in my writing),

"No! NO! GO ON! GO ON! GET OUTA' HERE!!" She miraculously moved one hand from the handle of her walker and waved me away.

"Ok, ok! I'm goin'!" I ran out of the middle of the street and walked the long avenue block toward my friend's apartment. As I reached the end of the block, I looked behind me to observe the situation. The old woman was only three-quarters of the way across the street. Push. (Wait) step...step. (Wait) Push. (Wait) step...step.

That'll teach me to help old ladies cross the street. I mean, what was I thinking? How RUDE of me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

NYC Update

Corner of Amsterdam and 83rd


My life is a bit crazy right now, so I'm sorry for the lack of posts. I promise that once everything slows down, I'll be a better blogger. I haven't given up on the Catholic discussions. Just haven't had as much time to develop my thoughts here in NYC. Jumping from roommate to roommate. So far there's been a tornado in Brooklyn, the subways were closed for a day due to intense flooding, the heat has been a scorcher, but yesterday felt like fall, I have blisters on the bottom of my feet from walking in Texas shoes rather than New York shoes,

and I'm having a FANTASTIC time!

Tonight I'm going to see a FREE production of Romeo and Juliet in Harlem with my current roommate and some friends. I ate at a great cafe for lunch followed by dessert at Ben and Jerry's, walked it off with a day of window shopping in the Upper West Side, and made plans to go see Mary Poppins on Broadway very soon. I love this place.

Oh and I became a member of Facebook. Yikes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Thanks, Air Traffic Control...

I flew here today. Another eventful flying experience.

Air traffic control rerouted us due to thunderstorms between Chicago and New York. No problem. Just fly around the city and come in from the north side. No rain in NYC. Not a problem at all. Except that moments before the wheels of our airplane touched the ground, the pilot suddently surged forward and jerked us back into the air, flying over the runway instead of landing on it.

I nervously glanced at the passengers around me as they nervously glanced at me. We all nervously glanced without speaking. After about 2 minutes of flying over New York City, the pilot said over the speaker,

"Sorry about that, folks. We had to, uh, abort landing at the last minute. There was a plane sitting in the middle of the runway."

WHAT! There was an AIRPLANE sitting in the middle of the runway and we almost landed into it!? We gasped. We raised our eyebrows and looked at each other. I smiled in disbelief, a bad habit of emotional displacement. I thought to myself,

"Thanks, Air Traffic Control, for a bunch of nothin'."

I imagined it was a terrorist plot. They all had somehow maneuvered planes to sit on runways so that the flying planes couldn't land, anywhere...and the flying planes all just flew and flew until they ran out of gas and crashed into buildings and oceans.

We continued to circle the city, and a cell phone rang behind me. The cell phone belonged to a man who looked stoned. Why did he have his cell phone on? Didn't that interfere with communication and whatnot? Surely, he wouldn't answer it. Not after we almost rammed into a sitting plane.

The woman across the aisle from me looked at the man sitting behind me, then looked at me and said, "He ANSWERED his phone! I can't BELIEVE he would ANSWER his phone!" She gaped at the man with a look of disgust.

A guy a few rows back hollered out, "Hey, man, I don't think that's the best time for that right now!"

The pilot lowered the plane for a second attempt at landing. We bowed our heads and closed our eyes. I made peace with God in case it was the end.

Obviously, it wasn't. We bumpily landed and screeched to a stop.

Welcome to New York City, where airplanes like to sit still on runways reserved for other planes' landings.

Tunesday: Still Haven't Found

Ah, Ha HA! That is a laugh of sheer spiritual glee at this video. I love this. I found this video on Stephen and Haley's blog. They are good, good friends of ours and are moving to Scotland so Stephen can go to almost as much school as Seth. Stephen will be working on a doctorate in some really spiritual and smart field, Early Church History, is it? Stephen talks about the hope we have in the kingdom to come, and how it's a hope that won't materialize into reality until Christ comes again. But it's a hope worth holding till the end. He says it way better than I could. We're really gonna miss you guys. Damn you for moving so far away. (Not really - the damn part. All in jest, all in jest. May no curses befall you.) Keep that bed or air mattress or futon ready for us. We're coming.

I used to go to a black church in Waco: Greater New Light Missionary Baptist Church. The choir was alot like this one. I miss it.

Gosh, I'm in a weepy, sentimental mood. Oh well, deal with it, people.

Tune: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Band: U2
Album: originally Joshua Tree

Sunday, August 5, 2007

It's the Hard-Knock Life...

The past couple of weeks we've been house sitting. Such a hard job, let me tell ya. The pool and hot tub every night. The bike path behind the house. The tasty food and wine she leaves behind with permission to consume. The FANtastic washer that takes only a tiny amount of detergent for one load of laundry, and the dryer which dries clothes ultra fast. The service that mows the lawn. The piano. The very fast internet that doesn't crap out on us every two days, like the ridiculous TV Max cable internet we were forced into using because of our silly apartment complex. Ugh. Did I mention the wine?

Of course, house sitting does come with responsibilities. I mean, don't get the wrong idea. It's not complete utopia here. I do have to water the plants and feed the eleven-year-old-boy's snails upstairs. And if you've ever seen me with green things that grow, you know that it takes some effort on my part. I fret over whether I should water them today or tomorrow, and once I've watered them, if I've watered them too much. And the snails. Well. I don't know if you've ever fed snails, but...gross. That food stinks. Or is it the snails? Water snails in a tank rarely cleaned by its eleven-year-old owner....probably the snails. Why snails, I wonder? I get fish, or lizards, or even tarantulas. But snails? Not seeing the entertainment or companionship factor there, not even the nurturing factor. I was only instructed to feed them on the weekends. They don't feel like pets when you feed them only once a week. BUT, to each his own...

Oh, and the light from the windows in the morning. WAY too early. =-)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Finished



Finally done. Stayed up until the wee hours of the morning Tuesday night/Wednesday morning to finish. I couldn't get around to reading the week of my show.

After many tears shed over what Harry had to do in the end and what happened to many of the characters that I love, (trying not to give it away here) I can't believe that I'm saying this, but I thought it was a little too long. She really strung this one out. And so when it climaxed I wasn't as affected as in the previous books.

I didn't get into the Hallows idea. In the end it just seemed unnecessary to the book. Like she thought she'd do more with it, but changed her mind in the end. So again, less words would have been fine for me. I loved what she did with Snape. Loved it. I'm a little mad at Dumbledore, for being weak and mortal. But I suppose that was Rowling's intention. Even the greatest among us are mortal and flawed.

I can't say anything else without ruining it for anyone still reading.

A fond farewell to Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

To Be Known

I made a trip to the bank the other day to make a needed deposit, and upon driving up to the nifty, vaccuumed, tubed device I heard from the speaker,

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Ward. How are you today?"

Surprised, I glanced at the teller in the window with a look of elated astonishment. She knew my name. How did she know my name? How nice. My day brightened in an instant, and I smiled back and said,

"I'm good, thank you. How are you?"

And I thought as I drove away, how good it feels to be known. And I remembered how much more God knows me, and how glad I am for that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tunesday: Glosoli

Song: Glosoli
Band: Sigur Ros
Album: Takk

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Sound of Music

Forget few and far between. The posts this past week were pretty much non-existent. The Sound of Music went very well, I think. A big thank you to those who came out to see the show!

I had such a good time. It was probably the most fun I've ever had doing a show. I've missed my Van Trapp kids today. The day after a run ends is always somewhat bittersweet. You're happy for a job well done, but there's a sense of loss. It's like waking up from a dream. The goal for which you've worked so hard is gone. Done. The moment vanished. Glimpses only in pictures. Quiet. No music, no lines. No applause. It's still, and it's healthy. It reminds me it's a job, something I do. Not something I am. I'm incredibly thankful for a husband who not only encourages me, but leads me, to do the things I love to do.

There have been some requests for pictures, so here ya go!
"Van Trapp children don't play. They march!"

Do Re Mi

"I am 16 going on 17..."

"Um...you want me to wear...that?

My new mother

The Festival

Kids taking a bow. It doesn't get much cuter than this.

The Cast

Now that's one handsome guy right there.

The Van Trapp Children

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tunesday and Other Things

The posts will most likely be few and far between this week. Crazy rehearsal schedule and stressful last minute details to work out for The Sound of Music.

There's a great discussion still going on here, if anyone wants to jump on board. Baptism required or not required for salvation? Church fathers. Who holds the authority to interpret Scripture? Alot in one thread, really. But if you haven't been following and would like to, go for it.

Staying true to Tunesday, I MUST post this find by my new blogging friend, Shelley. Anyone ever watch Neverending Story? You won't want to miss this. Who knew the tune was sung by this guy? Ha! And if Shelley doesn't mind, and I hope she doesn't because I didn't ask her permission, I'm using her question. What's your favorite part of this video? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

Song: The Neverending Story
Artist: Limahl

Embedding is disabled. Click here. Please!!!! Just do it. Click. You won't regret it. I promise.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Get Ready. It's Contagious.

Many of you have probably already seen this. I found it on Brant's blog, and I loved what he had to say about it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It's Here...


The release of Book 7.

Potter fans crowded into Barnes and Noble at midnight tonight to pick up reserved copies. And oh yeah, we were there. One copy for Seth. One copy for me. I can't write much. Need to go read. Harry better not die. Snape better not be evil. And Dumbledore better...oooh I better not give it away if you haven't read Book 6.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Catholicism: Beginnings

I wrote earlier that I believe it beneficial to look at the ways Catholics and Protestants agree. So, I quote here two statements from the Catholic Catechism, which is basically a very long and detailed statement of faith. They are both taken from the prologue to the Catechism. The very first statement of the prologue, before getting into the thick of it all, is a prayer of sorts. It reads:

"FATHER, . . . this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (Jn 17:3) "God our Savior desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim 2:3-4) "There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) - than the name of JESUS.


I find it stunning, this statement. Already, it dispells widely held misconceptions of Catholic belief. From this prayer alone, we can conclude that:

1) The Catholic Church views Scripture as vital and meaningful for the instruction and direction of their faith.

2) The Catholic Church does not view Mary as Redeemer of mankind, nor as equal to the nature of God.

3) The Catholic Church does not view the Pope or/and the priests as Redeemer of mankind, nor as equal to the nature of God.

And then, Section I:1 of the Prologue reads:

"God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life."


Again, beautiful. Already we see the appropriations of the Trinity, or the different operations given to the three persons in one nature/substance of God. We see God initiating salvation by drawing close to man. And to accomplish such a salvation, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior, that in the Holy Spirit we would be placed into an inheritance of eternal life as children of God. And that it is all done out of His goodness.

This is an important agreement. It means that Protestants cannot view Catholics in the same manner that they can view Mormons. The nature and operations of God are believed to be the same between both P's and C's. How many times have I heard, in the same breath, both Catholicism and Mormonism given as examples of cults. Catholicism and Mormonism are not the same, not even close.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tunesday: Danny Boy

I've shared it with you before. I bring to you, again, my most favorite tune to be sung by Muppets.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tales of a Big Sis

Like I said, it's great being a 16 year old, with all the games and giggles and family fun. There's another perk I haven't experienced in a long, long time...until today.

Theater etiquette demands that while waiting in the wings for an entrance onto the stage, the actor is silent, or at least as quiet as humanly possible. For multiple reasons, the obvious one - so people in the audience can't hear you. But another reason, so that you focus on what's happening on stage so as to not miss your cue.

So tonight at rehearsal, my brothers, sisters, and I have just exited stage right and are waiting for our next cue. Rather, I'M waiting for our next cue. Which is for sure the most stressful cue of the whole show and entirely up to me. I have to, with a pitch pipe, give our pitches to begin "The Sound of Music" in 3-part harmony, acapella, from off stage, at exactly the right time during the ongoing dialogue on stage. And then we walk on singing. Uh, that's really hard. For multiple reasons.

1) Children can't always hear 3-part harmony when there is no accompinament.

2) I don't have a pitch pipe yet, so I'm guessing.

3) These children haven't learned yet how to BE silent off stage in the wings, and they are dramatically hyper.

4) Most children haven't a clue as to how to WHISPER.

So here's how it went down today:

We exit after Captain Van Trapp orders us to STOP PLAYING AND CHANGE OUR CLOTHES. (I will hereby refer to the children by their Van Trapp names...)

Brigitta and Marta (off stage): Ah HA HA HA! Ah HA HA HA HA! Did you see when....? hee hee hee (squeal) I know! HA HA HA!

Kurt (off stage to Friedrich): Would you PLEASE keep your head down when we're leap frogging! I can't jump over your big ole' head!

Friedrich: I'm sorry, Geez.

Gretl (hits Friedrich): I don't LIKE YOU very much!

Friedrich: Stop HITTING ME!

Me: Guys, please stop talking. This is important. I need to hear my cue.

Brigitta and Marta: Hee hee hee! (squeal) Hee hee hee!

Me: Seriously guys, you really should NOT be talking right now!

Brigitta: (stops, looks at me, then at Marta); hee hee hee hee! HA HA HA!

Me: OK, here we go. Pitches....

Friedrich: No! That's too low!

Me: Shhhh! Friedrich, just do it!

Brigitta: (sings an entirely wrong pitch)

Me: No! Guys listen. I just gave you your pitches.

Everyone: What? No! hee hee hee! Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm, is that right? No, it's too low!

Director: (from audience): THAT WAS IT! LIESL!!!! THAT WAS YOUR CUE! HELLO? GUYS!

So. What did I do? You bet I did.

I told on them all.

If you're not gonna listen to me, you're gonna be in trouble. That's how it goes. I marched myself right out on that stage and said, "Excuse me. Would someone please come back here and remind us that we can't talk off stage. Because everyone's talking and NOBODY's listening for the cue or to my pitches. NOBODY. I tried giving them 3 times. But NOBODY was listening."

That pretty much did the trick. They were scared of me for the rest of rehearsal. It was awesome. Tattletaling kicks major A.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sound of Music Update

The Van Trapp Children
Minus Friedrich (who wasn't at rehearsal for some reason or another)


Rehearsals for Sound of Music are going well. I'm not sure what could be more fun than spending four hours a day pretending to be 16 years old. Life doesn't get much better than that. I have the best little brothers and sisters in the world. Today during break we formed a line, joined hands, and did "the wave" back and forth for a whole five minutes. Then we played "Down by the Banks," that game where you make a circle and sing and slap each other's hands...OK, I have no idea how to explain it but it's great fun when you're allowed to act 16. I even get in trouble for talking during rehearsal because I forget that I'm an adult and that I should know better.

Seth says I come home from rehearsals glowing. You would, too, if your only care for the evening was how to act like a kid. My little sister, Marta, is a friend of mine from church. She's in 2nd grade. Her mom told me that when she started acting a couple of years ago, she came home from rehearsal, laid down on her bed, and said, "Mom, where has this been all my life?" I know exactly how she feels.

If you're around these parts, come on out and see the show! Here are the dates, times and info:

Friday, July 27: 8 PM
Saturday, July 28: 8 PM
Sunday, July 29: 3 PM

Buy tickets online at www.fortbendtheatre.com or call 281.208.3333.

The performances will be here, directions to the theatre here.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Airport Scene

I flew to Tulsa today to help my parents move and unpack and whatnot. They've just moved from Dallas to Tulsa. Traitors to Texas! It's alright, though, because we're from Oklahoma anyway. I was born in Oklahoma City, but only lived there for five years. It's weird how Oklahoma people have the same look about them. It could almost be considered plain, but pleasant. Bright, kind eyes set against thin, sharp facial features. Maybe it's all that Indian blood. While I haven't lived in Oklahoma for years, I always feel completely at home when I come back here. Awful, isn't it?

Of course, the trip to the airport was eventful. Flying is always eventful. One event particularly enjoyable:

I saw a young, blonde woman in a business suit, wearing too much makeup, sitting on her carry-on suitcase as she waited in the "B" line to board our plane. I was in the "A" line. (Yesss.) After waiting for about 5 minutes, she halfway stood and reached forward for her purse. Upon sitting back down on her luggage, she unknowingly pushed it back with her bum before placing her entire weight on the suitcase. She sat, but the suitcase was no longer available. Poor girl made a ruckus falling onto her luggage rather than sitting on it.

I tried not letting on that I saw. I quickly looked away, glancing furtively at the scene whenever I thought it was safe. A bushy-eyebrowed, rosy-cheeked man with gray thinning hair atop his large round head stood behind her, and when she fell, yelled with an unforgettable Oklahoma twang, "Woah!", while extending his arms to break her fall. He failed at his admirable task, but being the country gentleman he seemed to be, the man helped the girl and her luggage off the ground.

"Aw, nobody saw ya but me. I sure saw ya, though!"

A bright red glow attempted to rise to the surface of the girl's caked on face. "Oh, I'm sure plenty of people just saw me completely fall on my ass. But it's Ok. It's ok, I don't mind. I'm fine."

She turned around, once again, sitting on her luggage, the round-faced man standing silently behind her. With each stealthy glance that I dared take, I noticed the man's mouth ferociously fighting an upward turn, finally quivering into a pinched smile, his eyes glittering with laughter. I dared not take any more liberty to look. I dared not make eye contact with the man. I stood straight ahead and wondered if the look on my face resembled his.

That was my favorite part of flying today. My least favorite part was when, hurrying into the airport, my heel slipped off my lady bug sandals, thus breaking a strap and making it impossible to avoid walking with a limp, or barefoot. I tried walking both ways today in the airport. Barefoot was much more fun.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Catholicism Yet Again Misunderstood

God has gifted me with a kind disposition, a smile that comes easily, and a relatively positive outlook, save for the normal depressive seasons of an artistic soul. I am thankful for these personality traits. They come with no human effort, but through God's goodness and creativity. But with certain good gifts come certain tendencies that work to my disadvantage, and at times, to my advantage.

One tendency being, when I display any irritablility, any anger, any sadness, any tiredness, with my facial expression or actions or words, the emotions come across rather...dramatic. It's beneficial whenever I teach high school choir, because it knocks students into a sort of healthy fear. I have a secret weapon. They don't see it coming. They think, oh she's gonna be a real pushover. We're gonna be able to get away with anything. But, they soon learn that I have a look from Hades that sends them into the utter recesses of despair and repentance. I love it. I would assume it will prove useful with my own children as well someday.

But the tendency can become an obstacle. Take for instance, yesterday, when I taught a piano lesson at an hour much too early for an actor who rehearsed until midnight the previous night, and suffers from a severe case of insomnia, or, as C-ham'n'eggs reminds me, a whacked out sleep schedule. The disadvantages ensue when said piano student's mother calls me as I am driving to the lesson to tell me she'll be late, and already exhausted and perhaps...grumpy?...all I can think is how I could have slept precious few more minutes. My tone in response to her must have shown my irritability, for she responded back with such curtness in her own tone, and then proceeded to tell me later, after the lesson, that I haven't been myself lately. I don't know what that means...haven't been myself....because it seems only fair to me that I would be allowed the irritability that anyone else is allowed, and it could still be considered "myself", that I was being myself, just an irritated self. But! Such cards I am dealt, and as Kddub's grandfather reminded us in a recent post, it's not what cards we have, but how we play them that counts.

I have a point to all this.

Tuesday I reacted strongly to an AP article about Pope Benedicts's document addressing Protestant "eclessial communities." I hope that you read the comments which followed, because it turns out my reaction was premature and unnecessary, and that the article was misleading and erroneous on many accounts. And I fear that my reaction came across as stronger than I intended.

Pope Benedict was present at the Second Vatican Council, though at the time known by the name Ratzinger, and since the council, he has done much work to dispel false interpretations of the Unitatis Redintegratio, a Decree of Ecumenism issued by the Council. I encourage anyone interested to read it. It is beautiful and encouraging, when seen in the correct light, that is when viewed in light of unity of all Christians. Keeping in mind that Catholics view the Reformation as sinful in regards to a separation from what they know as "the true Church," consider the following quote from the Decree,

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect."


When re-reading the Vatican II decree, I came across this admonition, directed to Catholics but relevant to me as well.

"We should therefore pray to the Holy Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble. gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them. St. Paul says: "I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace".


My attitude and tone in my previous post did not reflect such a worthy calling. I am sorry for any confusion or misunderstanding that my dramatic ranting inspired, or for any offense taken at my anger.

Another example of how Catholicism has been wrongly conveyed, and how if we as Protestants don't take the time to dig further, we will be in danger and at fault for accepting what is untrue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Backwards

Pope: Other Christians Not True Churches
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

"Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

On Saturday, Benedict revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.

Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.

In the latest document — formulated as five questions and answers — the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II's ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been "erroneous or ambiguous" and had prompted confusion and doubt.

It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation."

In the new document and an accompanying commentary, which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy's Dolomite mountains, the Vatican repeated that position.

"Christ 'established here on earth' only one church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles...."

Go here to read the complete article

Excuse me for being so blunt, but

What the hell?

..."Therefore did not have the 'means of salvation.' Because we don't claim apostolic succession? Last time I checked, Christ said He loved the whole world and whoever believes in Him should have eternal life. Not whoever believes the Pope succeeds directly from Peter and that Rome holds authority over all believers.

I'm mad. I'm mad because here I am reading about Catholics, finding the faith beautiful and meaningful, attempting to understand what I don't believe, and all in the name of Christ. And now...I have no means to salvation? That makes me want to stop. That makes me want to put all my books away and quit.

So is that document considered ex cathedra? I know there are liberal Catholics who believe otherwise. Are all Catholics now required to believe what that document says? I haven't read the entire document. I should read it. I don't know where to find it, but I should read it.

Vatican II was a positive step, in my opinion, and this is backwards. I don't understand this. I apologize for the ranting and raving but.... One of the things I admired about the Catholic faith was the interpretation by the Magisterium. I feel that we as Protestants think we can interpret Scripture any way we see fit, and if it's different, we just start another church, and it's all good. I appreciate the standards of authority put in place by the Catholic church. But I can't respect this. I have a really hard time respecting this. I just don't understand.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here, like I've misunderstood Catholics in the past. I guess I'll try to find that document....Any clarification on this would help...

Tunesday: Eva Cassidy...Different Song than Before

Ohmygosh. This is so irritating. I can't get the thing to embed. Trying something new that didn't work. I wanted to show you one song, but I can't.

For all of you who've already been here and listened, I'm sorry. I'm changing the tune again. The link below wasn't working for me. Nothing's working! I'm irritated.

Anyway, here is Eva Cassidy's "Over the Rainbow." No one sings it like Judy Garland, but Eva's a close second. I'm sure most of you have heard of Eva, but if not...she was relativily unknown outside of her hometown of Washington D.C. when she died of melanoma in 1996. Since then her records have sold more than 4 million copies. She's one of my favorite singers.

This version was played at our wedding - voice and classical guitar. Beautiful. The tune was also a part of Seth's proposal, but I'll share that later...someday...maybe.

DISCLAIMER: This track contains awful synthesized sounds toward the middle of the track. PLEASE IGNORE.

Song: Over the Rainbow
Artist: Eva Cassidy
Album: Songbird

Listen here. For real this time.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Patriotic Plans Gone Awry

This year's Independence Day, I was particularly looking forward to the underlined activities below:

Taken from Fort Bend Now, July 4, 2007

"Sugar Land invites the entire community to celebrate America’s 230th birthday, at the 21st annual Red, White and Bluefest, from 5-10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4...

The evening begins with a Faces of America parade featuring Sugar Land’s culturally diverse residents displaying their various patriotic roots, followed by the Patriotic Pet Parade contest in which pets dressed in their finest red, white and blue get a chance to compete for the title of Sugar Land’s most patriotic pet. Throughout the event, the city will provide more than a hundred acres of food, games and good old-fashion American fun with jugglers, magicians and stilt walkers....

The evening closes with a 20-minute fireworks spectacular...."

Wow! That's some celebration right there. I was very much looking forward to it.

Sugar Land's "parade featuring culturally diverse residents displaying their various patriotic roots" could be translated as, "We here in Sugar Land are proud of our Indian population. We diplomatically strive towards inclusion when celebrating our country, so hey! Why not include theirs in the celebration!" But I'm OK with that. And the Patriotic Pet Parade. What a show that would have been! I was equipped with camera and all to snap my favorite pictures and share them with you. Who cares about the games. Free food and stilt walkers. Does it get any better than that?

We packed our car with two $8 folding chairs we had bought for but were not allowed to use at the Ben Folds concert and headed to the park. But alas, our local event was canceled due to a previous rain and a few leftover clouds. Seth was convinced there was a terrorist threat. Why else would they cancel flippin fireworks on the fourth of July! he exclaimed. Perhaps they were scared of rain, I calmly reasoned.

After a brief walk in a park whose existence was previously and sadly unbeknownst to us, we left hungry and dissappointed, the use our nifty folding chairs equipped with cup holder left for yet another day.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Can't Sleep

Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep. Can't sleep.

Can't sleep.

I'm trying a new cure for insomnia. Type the same words over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over

I think it might be working. I'm getting sort of tired sort of tired sort of tired sort of tired sort of tired sort of tired

It's an alternative to counting sheep. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen

Except that I'm sitting up at the computer so I won't be able to just fall asleep.

Sleep is a funny thing. I mean, isn't it weird that we just have to shut down for hours at a time. That we're still alive but our whole body is unconscious. Shut down to such a degree that I don't even hear things or remember things, except for dreams of course. And those are weird too. That my whole being is barely conscious but my subconcious is creating something in my mind. Crazy. What if right now I were sleep-typing instead of sleep walking or something? No, I'm not. I promise. Just can't sleep.

I've been having insomnia for about a week now. I hate it. At least I usually get to sleep pretty late in the morning. Which always makes me feel like a lazy ass, but I've reconciled that by now. I'm a musician and that's just how it goes. Musicians get sleep late passes. It's just how it goes. Has anyone ever heard that Ben Folds song, "Not Tired." That is one rad song. He played it at the John Floofyhair concert, but I also heard him play it with the Houston symphony and that was friggin amazing.

OK, so I'm gonna try to go to sleep again. G'night.