Life is to short to live it without a smile...or a mustache

Monday, December 26, 2011

Grateful for Gaters, Garland, and Good Actors, Great Friends.

First off, today I am celebrating Boxing Day in honor of all my fellow Canadians (everyone here is sure I am actually from Canada because of all the weird things I say, and do).  One of our Lit. Interns actually tells Canadian partons that we have an Intern from Canada haha.  Happy Boxing Day...and it is only fitting that today is my actual day off this was meant to be!

Happy Holidays from warm and sunny Florida!  This Christmas was great, but I will admit, when it all comes down to it, I would take cold weather and family over tanning and green palm trees any day.  I have been blessed with some amazing people in my life that love and support my every move.  I couldn't ask for anything more....the care packages, shipped presents, and stockings were only bonuses to my blessings.

I recently have been out and about trying to see more of the area around Sarasota.  Boy has it been fun!  One Monday off, my friend Kayliane and I packed up the car and headed over to Myakka River State Park to pushed off on an air boat and find gators on and around the water. SO COOL!  I even talked a bit like the swamp loggers when I was out....she thought I was nuts haha.  There were points that the floating gators were only 5 feet from me.  Talk about a rush seeing an animal that powerful so close.  The temp on the water that day was perfect and there was even a light breeze.


While at the park ,we also took in the one of the Worlds few Canopy Walks.  It is unlike anything I have ever seen.  You walk up these stairs to a free moving bridge and then up and up again.  Once at the top, you are far above all the tree tops and can see forever.  I felt like I was in the Lion King or something (yes, I sang the opening song from the movie up there)!  The tower is only held up by ground enforced cables so when at the top you can feel the wind and the other people on the tower moving the structure. AMAZING!


The trip was a success and I learned a lot about the area too.

Another amazing happening to report is the Birth of my Nephew Cannon Joshua.  Here is a little candid shot of the Big Guy.  I can't wait to finally see and meet him in person.  Skype and pictures will have to do for now...

Josh sent this one morning with the caption, "I think I pooped!"
The Christmas season in Florida was interesting.  People spray snow-in-a-can on their windows and "White Christmas" plays in all the stores, yet its 83 degrees out side and everything is green.  While this will be a year to always remember and I spent my day off on Christmas eve tanning and burning on Lido Beach, I missed home.  Christmas morning I woke and stuffed my roomies homemade stockings (made by a costuming elf), made my homemade biscuits and gravy, and we opened presents from each other as well as family and friends back home.


We were lucky enough to borrow a tree from someone in the office and spent about $30.00 in decor to at least make the inside of our apartment feel like Christmas at home.  All in all, it was a wonderful day.  After the morning fun we all lugged ourselves to the theatre and worked two great shows.  Working seemed a little strange but we had full houses for all three theatres that housed two shows each.  Who would have thought that theatre could be so big on Christmas day?!

Being away made me so grateful for the little ways to show your love.  A smile to someone on the street corner that could also be missing someone special or a held door for a mom struggling to get her bag out of a mall door when you can clearly tell she is stressed over the money that was just spent to try and make her two adorable boys day complete.  As much as I have hated Christmas in the years past, this one made my heart beat.  Christmas morning Tom, one of my roomies who is at times a bit much, woke and screamed "Merry Christmas!"  I honestly thought Matt would soon after be coming out of his room to murder him.....didn't happen though.  He then proceeded to hook up his Skype and sit in front of the tree opening presents with his family at home...mind you screaming and laughing loudly the whole time.  Where I was nervous for his safety and where I would usually be a bit aggravated with him, I saw an inner child excited for the holiday and I smiled while cooking my breakfast.  I realized I don't ever want to not be happy and never want my inner child to go away.  I guess you could say Laura Clausen had rubbed off on me! ;)

I was blessed to get a little Spokane love this holiday with some very special gifts from Laura, Chad and Sophie, Dave and Crystal, Jenn and Kerry, and a very special old school advent calender from my Aunt Sheri and Uncle Mike.  Words can't express my happiness with each box!  I was also blessed with the love of my N2N cast.  They all got me things...some far to expensive.  I also got a new bar tee shirt from my office Secret Santa.  Now there should be no confusion from here on out haha.  As much as I always say I hate that the holiday has become about gifts and not Christ, it was nice to get a couple simple things.  One of my favorite gifts to report this season was being asked to be the "Maid of Honor" (I am to come up with a new name for it) for Ben and Caitlynn's Wedding.  I can't wait!  Congrats again guys!


My mom is coming to stay in just a couple days and I am excited to show her around the city and area that I am for now calling home.  She will be sing all the shows that FST is offering and I plan on taking her to the beach and the Ritz.  Fun filled pics soon.

For now, know that I miss you all very much, expecially this holiday season.  I hope that yours was and will be filled with love, joy, happyiness and family and friends.  I know that mine has been, even from far away!

For the record, it took more than 20 minutes to try and get this finished and a picture taken before the tide washed it away.  I was that child building to close to the water front.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Different threads, same machine.

Life has been interesting lately, but nothing big to report.  I have spent the last week or so catching up on the Amex bill for Next to Normal and trying to collect tax from the online places that we bought clothes.  Pain in the ass if you ask me, but since we are tax exempt it has to be done, and let’s be honest, I do love saving a buck when ever I can.  I have also been prepping the next two shows that will be loaded in.  I have been emailing, faxing, and calling theatres all over country collecting measurement sheets and body blocks.  Kind of cool if you think about how the theatre world is all connected.  I spoke with a costume shop manager in Portland the other day and we spent 5 minutes just talking about the Inland Northwest, the weather, and Christmas.  Weird but fun.

Paper work has been my game and I have been trying to stay in the game for as many minutes as possible.  The second Main stage show, The Last Romance by Joe Dipietro, opened last night at FST and a party followed.  This show was much simpler and to be honest I really did little after the measurements were taken.  A couple hems and quick rigging here and there but that's it.  A big change from tech weeks with N2N.  Highlight of this show would for sure have to be the making of the opening night dress for the star of the show.  And!  My boss and I only had one day to do it!  Mind you we cranked it out and even had time to make her matching earrings and a bracelet.  The little puppy looked as cute as a button.  Yes, a Shih Tzu dress will be going in my professional portfolio.  She was pretty in pink and had more rhinestones than any dog should ever have.  Pictures soon.

This is where a new chapter in a book would happen and this one would be where things get heavy until the next chapter when everything is fixed and you go get ice cream like after parents fight (long story that only a few will understand, sorry for those that don't, we can talk).  Long story short, without boring you all to death, I have recently been missing a friend here and the other party seems to think it is due to me not sharing and "not living my own life".  Do I have all the answers and live without safety as a big part of any of my thoughts? Not at all.  I guess I see myself as one that it pretty good about always trying to see both sides of a issue or even creating more than you sides.  When I am told that this problem is my fault, that they haven't changed one bit and that they are the same person I met on day one, and that I'm the one that has distanced myself, created walls, and am crippling my career, I hurt.  Am I wrong for asking to talk...AND NOT thru texting?  I am talker with my problems and issues.  Does it suck sometimes and take time?  Yeah.  Am I willing to do anything for however long needed to fix a squall?  You bet.  I see that every person is made of different life thread and are sewn together differently with the lives they have lived, but I also see that we all run on the same machine of life.  I am fully willing to do things someone else’s way but isn’t it a two way deal?  Talking isn’t easy for all I get it!  But don't expect a 5 minute car ride, high top bar table chat in a busy bar, or a counter lean while my pasta is boiling to be enough time to cover an issue that is far bigger than missing you.

I don’t have the answers and I don’t know what I want in life.  I believe we never will and that is why we live and try and figure it out along the way.  These last couple of days has been rough and the holidays are right around the corner.  I miss my family and friends and would give anything to be with them during this time when I often find it hard to always be happy.  And I get that happy is supposed to be the way we all should be.  Maybe putting a Christmas tree with Blake on Sunday will help a bit. 

When I say I miss you I mean it.  And trust that I think about home everyday.  I am blessed with people that love me and support me.  I guess that’s why I hurt so much when one of those people is off in the distance and I guess it’s my fault.

Now, haha aren’t you glad you logged on today to read this happy little rant without out even one fun picture?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Busting at the seams with news!

So, this once a week thing of updating my blog gets a little tough when all you want to do is sleep when you have free time.  It has been quite a month since my last post.  As I sat down to write this today I was thinking of all the things I wanted to tell you about. Tech week of my first equity show, Halloween, opening night, job opportunities, Chalk fest and the sand castle competition, my 23 birthday, Cheryl...?, Whitworth opportunities, dancing, Thanksgiving, and so many other fun moments.  Talk about a long blog right?  If you are still with me, I will try and make it as fun as possible.  Here goes...

Tech Week:  Talk about working my butt off.  It was a long two weeks without a day off but I made it.  I was successful in helping as a first hand for the light hang, and focus and I learned a ton from the designer that was brought in.  It was no light hang with Jenn Read and the college crew but I had a great time.  Over 200 light later things were in the sky.  I also found out that I have a not hidden...character inside of me.  Johan is a German ladder climber that just kind of came out of me at 11:45pm one night during light hang.  Let me just say, he can really get a crowd going!  Dressing during tech week was a world-wind.  I was told things would go really slow and there would be plenty of time to choreograph the changes in the moment with the actors.  Being that the director of the show is also the Artistic Director and head of FST I was super scared and nervous to show him my skills.  I needed everything to be 100% perfect the first time because then they would see I was no joke.  Let’s just say that the 10 out of 12 Tech day was not how I was told it would be.  Things went back to back with little time to spare and no time to mess up and try things different ways.  That being said, I feel like I rocked the day as a whole.  Everyone was dressed in time for the most part and only two of the million changes had to be worked over in time for perfection.  For having never done this big of a show I was a chip off the old block!

P.S. I told some I had a clip of Johan in action and I would post it...I do but couldnt get the clip to upload. Will work on it so you all can meet him soon

Halloween:  After a long day of light focus the interns dressed up with simple things out of our closets and the costume storage...its good to know the right person right?...and we made our way down to the Main Street Block Party.  The city blocks off the street and sets up a stage for live music and beer stands so people can get their drink on.  Yes, a couple beers were taken in and we even walked to a church to get some pumpkins and smashed them against an alley wall.  A cougar got all up in my biz while a roomie taped the event and laughs were had by all until her BF also dressed like a Ref just like her and I came back to her and found her with the guy that she was dancing with after me.  Did I dodge that bullet or what?!

Opening Night:  All the hype was up and I was nervous.  Being that we had 4 invited runs the evenings before I knew I was ready but it still seemed so foreign to me.  The show was a breeze and the party to follow was great!  There were rich people all over the place, and pictures being taken at every angle.  The highlight of my night was when the leading lady came to find me before she left to give me hug to thank me for making her night smooth and calm.  She also reinforced that when I was ready she wanted to introduce me to her friends in the wardrobe distinct in NYC.  May I remind you this is the women that is on resting leave from her staring role in Mama Mia on Broadway!  She told me that she knew I wanted to act and dance myself, stressing that it is the hardest biz out there, but that she sees something in me.  She told me that she knew what ever I would do with my life I would be a professional at it.  So, I guess I have some thinking to do.  Maybe I will call on her when I am willing and ready.

Job Opportunities:  All I have been doing is thinking about life.  People here are all looking at jobs in other places to try and get the big hit and try and move on.  Some are unhappy with what they are doing but I find myself learning and grateful for the things I am up to.  Yes, I wonder what will happen after this year but I see I still have so mush to learn and see here.  I guess I see it like this; not every situation will be a good one but you can always learn something from it.  I have really seen in this past month that I am seeing the glass as half full always.  Stacia again has pulled me aside time after time and talked to me about my hopes and dreams and how she wants to help.  I don’t know if I am ready for the City but I am seeing it looking exciting that’s for sure.  Her boy friend was also in town recently...he is currently working on the new coming Broadway show, Porgy and Bess...and he also was telling Stacia that she should put me in contact with this person and that person in the Broadway district.  YIKES!!!  She also asked what I was making dressing the show and I told her I had to fight to get the job and that I was making nothing more than my weekly stipend. Shocked she told me not to worry because all the actors would be tipping well at the end of the run and that she would be having a discussion with the Big Cheese about how that was wrong.  I told her I didn’t want the money that the expericance was enough.  I was told to hush and she would work on changing that with the theatre.  Money is not why I do my job; I do it because I love it and because I understand the actor side of a quick change.  The last thing you want to worry about when you come running off the stage is what you are supposed to be taking off and putting on.  Keeping them calm and giving them a stress free moment to get a drink of water and a breath is what I shoot for in a change.

Chalk Fest and the Sand Castle Competition:  Sarasota is hopping with old people these days!  The city is collecting its yearly snow birds and the events are starting to take form each weekend.  The past weekends included a week long Chalk Festival in
Main Street
with artists from all over the world. The Festival included a beginners section for the kids, regular portraits, and even 3D paintings.  The craftsmanship was unbelievable and my camera couldn’t even start to capture the feeling of the streets when we walked around.

The next weekend was equally exciting with the yearly Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Competition.  Sand was collected form the beach and mixed with water and an Elmer’s glue mix and they carved at giant mounds all weekend.  Kayliane and I went the last day and paid out $5 to get a close up look at the amazing finished products.



My 23 Birthday:  Old as dirt I know!!! Some days I crawl out of bed and feel it though.  The day was simple and fun.  Blake, one of my roomies shares the same birthday so it was fun to celebrate together.  We both found our desks decorated by office staff when we got to work and cupcakes were on the office kitchen counter for everyone to eat.  After 5 hours in the office we took our break before having to be back for a show later that evening and we got some dinner and some gelato ice cream.  When I arrived for the show that evening the cast took time out of their warm ups to light the fake cake that is used in the show and wished me a happy birthday with a family picture.  One of the coolest moments I have had since I have arrived here!  The evening ended with a trip to a bar in town.  It wasn’t wild and crazy that was nice.  It was rough to be away from my friends and family, but over all it was great.  It does make a guy realize though that he has the best friends and roomies back home when they call you and let you know they miss you and wish you the best!  Miss you guys!

Cheryl...?:  Long story short, a woman answered her ringing cell phone the other night during the show.  Not only did she answer it she had a conversation on it.  Let me also add that it was at the most important and most heart wrenching part of the show!  The actresses on stage were so set back that they ended up stopping the show standing there waiting for her to finish while that orchastra vamped the music and then stopped as well.  The room was silent and finally one of the girls looked back to the orchestra giving a head nod and they lead her back into the show.  Days later now, the situation is funny and we even made our own little documentation of the event.  Some people right?

Make sure you check out this clip...I am in it too! On this YouTube page you can also watch the weekly posts by Doc Rock if you want to see the type of people I spend my time with.
"Close to Crazy presents CHERYL...?"

Whitworth opportunities:  You are hearing from the soon to be new highlighted Whitworth Theatre Alum for perspective students!  I was contacted and asked to answer a bunch of questions and send pictures of my current work to be put in a brochure booklet and an online document.  I am truly honored and hope I do the department justice.  I wouldn’t be doing what I am today without their hard work on me and the knowledge that they gave me.

Dancing:  A couple weeks I was feeling a bit down and finally figured out that is was because I wasn’t using my body anymore and that I had not stretched or danced...other than at a club...since I had arrived.  I quickly fixed that and I am now going to a FST studio a couple nights a week to stretch and dance for a couple hours.  I already feel better and less stressed.  Diana would also be glad to know that my shoulders are no longer hanging at the bottom of my ears and that my neck has much more movement and flow in it.  On a side note; the tip of my right big toe has been numb for about three weeks now and I was thinking of going to the doctor for it because it was making dancing on it feel funny.  I am happy to report that the other night when I was dancing in the kitchen while I nooking a midnight snack I realized I could feel it all of a sudden!  The little things that make you happy as a dancer.  I am looking into joining the Dance Trance class at the YMCA and I am looking for an Interplay theatre group to try and work with in my free time.  Teaching time; Even if it is a couple simple movements a day that you do, do them, you will feel so much better!

Thanksgiving:  This is the sappy one of the mix.  Thanksgiving was really tough this year but it was great time as well.  The weather made it seem like it wasn’t really even that time of year.  The warm 82 degree weather and blue skies was a far stretch from the snow, coldness, and outdoor freezer that I am use to.  The normal sounds and routines of the day just weren’t there this year even though I made the same chess ball, spinach dip, and pumpkin pies that my family was eating back home.  I put on my shorts and tee and off we went to one of the intern houses for our intern family meal.  Before dinner I called my family at home and talked with everyone there.  They all sounded just has I remembered them and I wished I was there to be a part of my new nephews First Thanksgiving.  After collecting myself from tears when they all told me how proud of me I they were, I made my way inside and ate far too much food.  This Thanksgiving made me even more thankful for the friends and family that I have at home that are supporting my every move and moment.  Words can’t say how thankful I am for that, truly. 


This Thanksgiving week also made me thankful for the way I was brought up.  I was shopping with another intern the day before at "Publics" when a woman knocked on my passenger side window as we backed out of the parking garage.  She told me she was sorry and embraced to be asking but she had locked her keys in her car and had just spent her last cash on the dessert she had just bought.  She needed $17 to pay the roadside help that was in their way.  She was in pink scrubs and said she worked a the hospital down the street and wanted to exchange numbers so she could get the cash back to me in a couple hours after she finished her shift.  I was taught to trust so I believed and went back into the store and bought a pack of gum and got $20 cash.  She gave her number to the other intern as I was in the store and off she went to meet the roadside help.  The other intern didn’t know how I could do that I and I told her I had to trust that she really needed the help because I would want someone to help and trust me if I was in that situation.  Needless to say, the number she gave was not a working number and she ran with the $20.  Could I have used the extra cash, yes but I hope the lady used it and remembers and sees how good some poor young people are.  I always always remember that maybe the homeless guy that stopped me on the way from work days before, or this lady could be Jesus.  Maybe my helping is helping in the long run and saving humanity.  Sure, some people have since joked that Jesus would have had a working cell number, but I feel like I helped.  I have been blessed with special people in my life since I can remember.  People that helped put food and clothes in and on us, people that gave extra cash to my mom during the holidays so that we could have a normal day, and people that helped pay my way though college just because they wanted to see me succeed.  I hope to be able to someday be comfortable enough to do the same. For now though, theses are the little things I can do on my intern stipend.  Maybe it isn’t even the money that is changing the world, maybe it is seeing the moment for others that is doing it.  I felt like the man and lady needed it this week so I gave what I could.  Even if it bought drugs I am thankful for the morals I was given a child.

I guess over all, I have seen myself grow this past month. In years but also as a man.  I have had to do things on my own, celebrate holidays in new and unusual ways, and think about life and the many things that come with it.  Have I figured it out? No.  But, I do see the garment that is turning out from all these years of sewing. Not only is it my hand that has held the needle and thread, but everyone that is a part of my life, big and small.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Patterns We Draft.

First off, I was so excited to come up with a clever title on my last post I decided to leave it for last so it would be really good.  Then without noticing, I forgot to title the post at all...FAIL!  I did it first thing this time haha.

I have been busy since my last post.  I have also taken a couple big steps at work and I am really seeing progress and achievement everyday.  The first main stage show (musical) Next to Normal will open November 2nd and there is lots to get done still.  I am already prepping for when I start going to rehearsal and working as a dresser.  I had a my second PPM (Personal Progress Meeting)...were interns usually complain about what they don’t like and the supervisor tells you what to improve on....with Susan my supervisor and she told me that she didn’t know what to talk to me about because I was doing everything she could want me to be doing and then more.  We talked about more of my wants and goals and I am really excited to learn some really cool new stuff.  She is going to teach me a body blocking system that was invented by one of her mentors/teachers in the 70s when she was going to a dressing making school.  She says it is more true to the theatre and its needs for patterning a dress and calls for less alterations once the garment is crafted.  She also told me that she was going to release me for the next couple of weeks and have me answer to Sara, the costume designer for Next to Normal, and have me work as the assistant designer.  This means I have been driving a company car all over Florida, mall shopping with a company credit card, and carrying a lot of bags from really ritzy stores.  In fact yesterday, when we shopped Macy's for shoes, I was left with the card and tax exempt forms to check out and while Sara went over and started to shop another store.  $573 and a couple signatures later I had bought 6 pairs of shoes!  Talk about dropping some cash on one person in the show.

Also because of Next to Normal, I have recently been introduced to the art of making a "Rub Off".  No, that isn't something dirty for all of you reading this and immediately thought it was!  Family Friendly here!  Sara bought a dress from Mod Cloth that she loved but when it came it was cheap fabric, made poorly, and would be a nightmare to keep pressed each night for shows.  This means the intern makes the same dress in the same color, but in a different fabric.  I first drafted the dress on muslin, then transferred it to paper, added some inches here and there, add seam allowance and cut it all out. The dress is now in pattern form and I will start to cut and sew next week....this also means we will return the piece of crap dress and they will never know what happened.  In total I will have a week and two days until it needs to be put on the actress for dress parade. Pictures soon.

Speaking of pictures, I told you I would post my last project and it’s finally time. The Cabaret show, That's Life Again, just finished its 2nd week of 12 and is going great.  I saw the show again tonight and it was just as good  if not better.




Another thing that I learned on this show was, if you can’t find the green vest that you like under stage lights (6 ordered vests later) you take a gold one and color it.  Amazingly, it worked and it looks stunning on stage.  Who would have thought!?

I also can now add to my resume that I can strip leather shoes and re-dye them to get a black Cuban heal if needed and all you have are brown ones....

And no, I didn't use my favorite color dye that we own in the shop. My favorite is a pretty awesome color thought if you ask me...

Life in the sun lately has been great!  Temperatures have dropped and we are sitting mid to high 70s during the days.  I can walk to work the three blocks and not be hot and sweaty on my arrival.  The nights on the beach have also changed a bit. Early this week a group of us put some pants and jackets on and took a blanket and a couple bottles of wine to Lido Beach and sat and watched the tide crash in and looked at stars talking.  While the trip was breath taking and fun it also got a little serious at times when learning more about the friends I have made.  All our stories are so different yet we all have things in common.  Listening to some of the things people have been through and dealt with breaks my heart.  It also made me think about my life and what hard things I have had to go through.  I sat there sipping on my wine feeling guilty because I had nothing to add to the personal stories.  I have always felt a little poor compared to some but I know that I have always had what I ever wanted thanks to my mom.  I have never been in trouble or had to deal with civil authority controlling my life.  I have always been the nice teacher’s kid and able to do all the things I wanted and then some.  Mom would give up her own life for my brother and me at a drop of a hat if needed and see that we were happy.  Happy I am, and look where it has put me.  The patterns that construct our lives give us a beautiful one of a kind garment in the end that we all wear every day on stage.  I wouldn’t want anything different either!

Today is my last day off until November 7th so I am taking it easy.  I slept in, got up and cooked a real breakfast of eggs, sausage, and toast, I’m writing this post while doing laundry and watching Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley, and went to see some amazing actors in That’s Life Again in the Cabaret.  I missed college and home a lot more this week because the Fall Production Hay Fever was going on and I wasn’t there to see peoples work and passion.  I miss the days of creating my own thoughts in the classroom but am learning lots following the designer around and doing what I am told. 

This post I also wanted to share a couple signs that I found in Sarasota.  One is a Taco Bell sign promoting a new drink and the other is in the Toy Section at Wal-Mart…and yes those were right under the sign.

The next couple of weeks are going to be crazy but I am excited to work on my first equity show!  Stay warm where ever you are...because I sure am here in the sand!

P.S. Here are some shots from when I went to Universal Studios!