Thursday, May 29, 2014

She Left Wearing My Socks

I had a friend visit.

It's one of those feast or famine relationships. We live across the country from one another and we're not made of money or time so the last time I actually laid eyes on her was in the summer of 2011.

She is cool. Like, one of the Cool Kids kind of cool. But as we sat across from each other eating fancy bread with European butter this morning she said, "I'm so amazed by you." And I know her well enough to know that she wouldn't have said it if she didn't mean it.

These last 24 hours have been marvelous fun. My heart is full of love and inspiration. I am grateful for all of my friends, the ones close by and far away, the ones I see all the time and the others who connect more occasionally, for the deep and wide conversations and the quick one liners.

Our feast has lifted me to higher ground.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not As Wrong As Other Things

It feels a little bit wrong to come in here and do a links post after a lot of time away but, given recent events, a links post also seems right.

I've been listening to some podcasts. I'm still not totally sure where they fit in my life but The Moth stories are cool and the best place to get a regular dose of Paula Poundstone is on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. Today I was listening to Moth stories and heard a story told by Kemp Powers that I thought was integral to the #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen discussions. It may not seem like it at first but I think that if you stick with it you'll agree with me. Right after that came a story by Lynn Ferguson, who I knew primarily as Craig Ferguson's sister and one of the voices in Chicken Run. She is, of course, a writer and performer in a her own right and she was telling a story with, seemingly, a lot of triggers for me. In the end, though, it's a story about making informed decisions and having those decisions respected by the people around you. So I guess that makes it pertinent to these hashtag discussions as well.

In response to the mass shooting in Isla Vista that was based on a man feeling he was owed romantic and sexual involvement and, if he did not get it, a violent response was justified there are a lot of links to point you toward. This Tumblr for instance is relatively unnecessary proof that this sort of assumption and response is widespread. A note about how dangerous it is even for women to point out this sort of thing. A real life example of a man not even seeing his actions as violent objectification.  Margaret Atwood being succinct on the subject. A note on using the label "mental illness" as a shield. And finally, not directly related to the Isla Vista incident but an important insight into how we treat rape when prosecuting it.

Now you want some happy links? Me too. Afraid I can't promise anything, though.

Here is a dog behavior to which I have not yet been exposed. Maybe I can avoid this one.

On using Romeo & Juliet as role models.

No prison time for this dude and yet, unmarried people are seen as imperfect in our society.  So, make sure you get married at all costs and if you happen to marry this guy is full of risks!

I have not read this yet and I totally should because I do think that the net neutrality legal wranglings are shaping up to be one big clusterfuck.

It's interesting how similar the mainstream and counter culture looks become as time moves on.

I read this post on potty training a human because I thought it was going to go in a new and different direction. It didn't. What was funny for me, though, is that with very little editing this could have been a chapter in one of my dog training books about potty training a canine. The big opportunity she missed here is teaching the kid to go on cue.

A woman decided to show the world that having an abortion is not scary. She, in fact, made a video of her abortion experience. I haven't watched the video yet but I feel it deserves sharing because knowledge is power. I remember a friend recounting her experience to me, right down to the furniture in the waiting room, and how demystifying and helpful that was for me.

Because Fuck Cancer here's a post about what to bring for a chemo appointment.

Woof, hard to end on a high note but I think I can manage it. Some guy left a bartender a $1000 tip for her dog's surgery. I hope that guy got whatever he wanted that day because that was a wonderful thing to do.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Photo Challenge: SYSTEM

Here we go again! This one got interesting in a very cool way. I always feel like a genius when I give a prompt that people interpret in several ways. I know, however, that it's just dumb luck.

Flight system by Our Ana (A system that almost failed this week.)

Filing System by Our Lisa (This expression on Henry makes me laugh so hard.)

Weather System by Our Bethany 

In The System by Me (Adoptable here.)

The chances of me coming up with another super awesomely interpretable prompt right away are minimal. Let's go with MEMORY for obvious Memorial Day reasons.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday June 3rd for posting on June 4th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and MEMORY. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dog Toys

Mentally I am on a break. Physically I am going about my business as usual. Here is a video of a special toy I bought for my dog.

He gets to use it sometimes, too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Am A Storyteller

I didn't know that today would be a blogging twofer for me. I didn't know I'd get these two opportunities at all. It's residual goodness from my long ago Year of Yes perhaps. Last week Leah was talking about storytellers and blogging and who is still telling personal stories. She decided to use a short interview format to highlight people who are still telling the real stories of their lives and she invited me to be interviewed. Surprise, my post came out today! 

I'm having a lot of fun today and it's all because of bloggers. Thanks, you guys.

I'm a Guinea Pig

I met Neil Kramer last year at BlogHer. We got to know each other a little better during the prep for LTYM NYC this year. He launched a blogging experiment last night and I asked to be part of it. I wound up being the first test subject. It was fun...and weird...and fun. Go ahead and read it and see what you think.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Old Skills. New Life.

I made a big mistake with Listen To Your Mother.

It feels good to get that off my chest.

In the past two years I have been privileged to read in the NYC LTYM show. In 2013 I was selected from the pool of people who auditioned and this year I was selected as one of the two members of our production team invited to read. Both years I promoted the show widely and with passion but often qualified that my time on stage was brief. I talked up the stories of the folks I was onstage with but let people know they wouldn't see much of me. I said that a lot, as though it was relevant.

It's not relevant for a lot of reasons. The other stories have been so wonderful that I've wanted people to hear them, too. As a whole the event comes together in a way that takes the audience on a journey that a night of fewer storytellers with more time each simply couldn't. This year, there was an even bigger reason and I didn't realize it until the show was over.

The background here is that I used to do a lot of work backstage in theatre. I was a stage manager, I was a production manager, I was an assistant, I toted and carried and supported and scheduled. I scheduled a lot. And I did it before email. I was pretty good at it, too. I was good enough that I was hired by a big name theatre company. I was requested by production managers. I was trusted by actors, directors, and designers alike. I was even a decent teacher to people coming up behind me.

The drawback was that I hated the work. More than that I hated who I became when I did the work. It's the sort of work that pushes all my buttons about making allowances for divas, changing perfectly crafted plans, and deferring to someone else even when you know their way will only result in coming back later to do the task again your way. When those buttons are pushed I get snippy with a patina of martyrdom to make my complexion really glow. I have a hard time liking anything in my life because these kinds of jobs in this medium require levels of commitment that make it hard to balance other parts of your life. Eventually I went away to graduate school for acting. I put an ocean between myself and the people who kept requesting me with the idea that I would come back and remake myself as a performer.

That plan has had varying levels of success. I find that my day job is in the same vein as stage management. I find that getting footholds into work I love, even dog training, uses a lot of the same skills. I am able to balance the things I dislike better in these contexts, though. No one has requested my stage management skills specifically in years but if they did chances are I would say no. However, I am still keenly aware that the amount of time one spends onstage is not analogous to the amount of time or energy one has put into a show. I know enough to look at a show and see what my friends behind the scenes have contributed as well as those in the actual spotlight.

I know better.

When I was asked to join the LTYM NYC team as a producer I was surprised. I've never produced anything outside of my own small and solo shows. I am not the kind of person who people shower money upon and I am terrified of making those kinds of requests. They already had someone with those skills, though. She was a rainmaker, a miracle worker, a silver tongued darling. The more I learned about what jobs they needed done the more I realized that what I was going to do was manage. Sort of project manage, sort of stage manage, sort of company manage but manage at many levels. These things, of course, I knew I could do.

When I realized that's what I'd be doing we were already entrenched in the process and I honestly didn't know how I felt about where I'd landed. I had made a commitment and I was going to see it through so it didn't entirely matter how I felt about the day to day work. As I went on, though, I remembered the parts of managing that are challenging in a good way. I remembered the importance of how we leave people on our lives feeling and the ways I knew to build relationships and sustain them. (Starting a relationship I'm terrible at. Sustaining one I have skills for!) I was, I am, proud to be part of this particular LTYM team and the national movement. It's worth the work, whatever kind of work.

A couple of days ago it came to me. This is what I should have said when people asked about the show, "I'm stage managing again. If you know me at all, and you do, you know I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't really believe in the show. I believe in the show. It's so good that I'm stage managing again. That's pretty fucking good. Now go buy your ticket."

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Photo Challenge: FAITH

Heh, I opened up this page and realized that I haven't submitted my FAITH photo yet. Fortunately I know the curator of this challenge and she owes me a favor.

Enjoy the shots and please let our photographers know what you liked. Scroll down for the next prompt!

I don't know if this is the name of the fabric or the name of a person to whom it belongs or if it's something that Our Janet wrote down specifically to photograph. I like not knowing.

I deeply admire how Our Bethany can coax smiles out of people even when they are in very dark places.
Our Cindy's photos of her trip to Ireland made me yearn to go back to the UK for a long ramble.

There's something about being able to trust that your mother will love you but she won't just let you win because she does. Our Lisa is an awesome mom.

Our Ana is a baseball aficionado. She knows the opening speech from Bull Durham to be true.

Even with hard work and detailed preparation putting on a show as big and with as many moving parts as LTYM feels like you're doing it on a wing and a prayer. Only I don't pray so I'm not sure what happened.

I credit my study of dog training for this prompt. I'm not even going to explain or suggest how you deal with it. The prompt is SYSTEM.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday May 20th for posting on May 21st. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SYSTEM. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.