Flying Home

Flying Home

It has been a very strange turn of events that found me here, 30,000 feet above the ground. It was a long journey home to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of our very own Martha Blackmore. Her entire family was there to go through this difficult time together.

I return to North Carolina with a cross to bear, but I don’t bear it alone. I will tell her story early and often. If you’re the praying type – send some words upstairs for Roy, Phil, Tim, and Mark. Thoughts for the rest of the Blackmore Clan wouldn’t hurt either. We’re all doing the best we can, but we need some help.

Don’t Give In

Don’t Give In

I don’t recommend getting sick on the road. It’s not fun.

Andy and I have caught some sort of cold – probably from (and I say this as lovingly as possible) a snotty-nosed kid that offered us an innocent high-five. Thursday evening we both admitted to having a sore throat. I immediately hit the Emergen-C, but as the night went on my throat became worse. No amount of water or steamy shower was helping. We woke up and muddled through on Friday, trying as best as we could to keep our energy up and getting pep-talks from Halls cough drops. My throat started to feel better, but my sinuses were stopped up. Today I gave in an started hitting the hard stuff: Dayquil. Hopefully I’ll be 100% soon.

Not a great way to spend a weekend, but I’m happy that I have the weekend to deal with it. If this sickness had hit me at the beginning of the week it would have been miserable.

I’m gonna go get some rest. I have one more day to get over it – send me some good vibes, would you?

I Won’t Send Roses

I Won’t Send Roses

Today I did my part to support the United States Postal Service. I went into Asheville and rented out a PO Box. I also purchased a roll of stamps. These two things were not cheap, but I feel good about my descision. I can use all the money I’m saving by not smoking cigarettes to treat myself to a PO box.

What? Did I just say I’m not smoking cigarettes!? Did I quit smoking?

As a matter of fact, I did. It’s been a week since my last cigarette, so I feel confidant that I can say I am not a smoker. In fact, It doesn’t even take very long for your body to get rid of the addiction – Nicotine leaves your body after a very short 48 hours.

Instead of replacing my addiction to nicotine with another oral fixation (gum or lollipops is the usual) I have replaced my smoking addiction with sending postcards.

It’s an pretty sweet trade-off when you think of the cost. US postage stamps are at 45¢ domestically, $1.05 to ship to Scotland for my good friends Tony and Allison. I send 7-10 postcards a week . So I’m spending about 4.00/week on postage. A pack of cigs is at least that much (sometimes much more) and I would estimate that I smoked 3 packs a week on average. On particularly stressful weeks I would smoke a pack a day. I’m saving at least $10 a week.

I always told myself when I decided to have children I would quit. I’m a long way from that decision (didn’t mean to scare you!) but the satisfaction of a cigarette has started to wane. I would build up anticipation to the next time I could smoke, but then be let down after a few drags. The justification of waiting until I was expecting became an excuse – besides, pregnancy looks scary enough without the added stress of nicotine withdrawl.

Plus, Minneapolis was freaking cold. Standing outside and smoking a cigarette lost all of its appeal.

BlissTree.com has put together this inforgraphic using information from the American Cancer Society. Makes it seem almost easy, doesn't it? It's not easy - but if I can do it so can you.

So many people don’t understand the appeal of it at all. I was one when I was younger. I thought that there was no way that I would ever smoke a cigarette. I saw my mother smoke cigarette after cigarette and I thought it was disgusting. But when I went to college, all the cool kids were doing it. I started smoking at parties. Then I started smoking at night. Then I started smoking between classes. Suddenly it became my stress relief. The day I bought my own pack (for a week I only bummed smokes here and there) I was so ashamed. It didn’t stop me though. And then I bought a pack after that. And another. And another still.

Smoking a cigarette feels good. But the cost (both financial and physical) is just too great.

So thank you Camel for all the good times we had. I’ll probably miss you for the rest of my life – but it’s time for me to move on. I’ll send you a postcard.

Catch Me If You Can

Catch Me If You Can

Well hello again, Minneapolis! It’s nice to see you again. Is that a new bed skirt?

I can’t believe I made it through two layovers and three flights without having to talk to a soul. It’s for the best. I wasn’t feeling too well.

I get nervous, and then when I start to think about being nervous – I get sick. It happens more than it probably should. The only way to fix it is to calm down, which is surprisingly difficult to do when it’s what you need to do. I’ve been like this all week, more so than usual. My parents took Max and I out to dinner the other night, and halfway through my chicken burger, I lost my appetite and then I started to worry about the inevitable loss of my dinner. In my childhood I would fast on show-days because of this phenomenon.

Cool story, right bro?

From the window of the plane I could see my bag.

Can’t get butterflies without the butter…? Sounds like that could be a good idiom for it. It’s not that I’m going to choke under the pressure, obviously. Simply choosing not to eat is not healthy and nigh-on impossible for the 10 weeks I’m on tour and single week leading up to it. Besides, I love food. It’s delicious. Om nom nom. I choose instead to eat light fare and take some tums. It works, but is it a permanent solution? I’m still nervous. A fair amount of stage-fright is good for the soul, but this feels different and it’s steadily becoming more overwhelming. Maybe it was just the flight, because I do feel better now. Truth be told, it’s not just touring that gets me in my head like this. I’m almost positive I’m doing damage to my stomach lining. Isn’t this how ulcers are born? Is that a myth? Am I over-reacting and causing more anxiety? How do people deal with anxiety? What are the alternatives? Anxiety medications? Counting to ten? Bulk-orders of tums?

In other news, I probably love Max more than I should – and I miss him. I miss you too, Tulsa. I miss your sunny, 70-degree January days. Try to fix up that construction on I-44 before March. To all of those I’ve left behind, know that I love and miss you too. But it’s almost crippling how much I miss Max when we’re apart.

As for you, Minneapolis, I have a man in a cosby sweater to meet at Liquor Lyle’s. It’s the 3-for-1s, they get me everytime. I ought to put on a sweater myself – Tulsa’s 70 degrees spoiled me and I wasn’t halfway prepared for the 20s that Minneapolis has to offer. Can’t get too crazy tonight though, rehearsal starts tomorrow! I’ll be damned if I spend the night in a bath tub again, amiright Michael and John?

Let the Winter 2012 Tour commence!

Finale, Act One.

Dear Twenty Eleven,

You’ve been very strange and all over the place. We started out wonderfully. A sweet kiss from Mark Trotter at the Boese residence. Perhaps my desperation to find a fellow to kiss when the clock struck was unattractive. I had someone else in mind, but they turned down my advances. That could have been my first hint, but I wouldn’t allow it to rain on my parade. I pursued that boy all the way into March when he kissed another in front of me. A ginger at that! Oh, Twenty Eleven, I was furious – but had no one but myself to blame.Photo by American Theatre Company

In February I traveled to Memphis, TN to audition at UPTAs. While the entire city of Tulsa was snowed in, I was tap dancing across a Marley floor in a hotel ballroom and doing my best Carol Burnett impersonation in callbacks. When I came back to Tulsa from my auditions, I discovered that I was laid off from my day job. Where one door closes, another opens – so I just had to find it. I didn’t find that door until May, but it was on the stage at American Theatre Company’s Taming of the Shrew, directed by the ever-wise Dan McGeehan. I was very proud of my work.

When spring was sprung, I found myself back where I was happy most – with Max. We kept insisting we were just friends in public, but I’m pretty sure it was obvious. Tragedy struck in May. I helped as much as I could. It was awful. I don’t know what else to say here.

I was contracted for work in September for the National Theatre for Children. Leaving Tulsa was a difficult decision, but one I couldn’t pass up. I don’t regret it – touring made me feel alive. My parents had a new addition to the house - our very own fire!I missed Max with every beat of my heart, but touring is another world. I met so many wonderful people. I’m thrilled to join NTC for another tour next week – this time we’re coming for Ohio and North Carolina!

The holidays were hard, but we made it through for the better with our bellies full and our stockings stuffed. I’m just thankful for every day you gave me Twenty Eleven. You did alright by me, even when I didn’t realize it. Twenty Twelve should have more surprises in store. I’m just happy to tag along for the ride. Thanks for having me.

Still Hurting

Thursday was good. The principal of our afternoon show was a fantastic woman from Atlanta, Georgia (when she said it it had more syllables than I can imitate. I love how Georgians pronounce Georgia.) who was excited to have us. She wanted to know our whole life story and was happy to hear all about our lives. In our second show at the school though, a kid got up and left during our show and didn’t return. He was angry because he couldn’t see, I think, and two teachers chased after him into the hall. I’m sure he was fine, but it reminded me too much of other events that may or may not haunt me. I couldn’t get her out of my head that night and I wonder if I ever will. I wish I would have woken up that morning and sat with her.

Hindsight.

The kids enjoyed the program immensely however, and it was a joy to bring theatre to children who do not get to enjoy it on a regular basis.

Friday’s shows were stellar.

I've finally made it in this world. ;)

The Marquee at Lenior City

We pulled up to our school to find that we were on the marquee! Our morning school had a fantastic principal who greeted me with a smile and a hearty handshake. His name was Skip, and I could tell he loved his job so much. A woman named Mary coordinated our visit, offering us refreshments and a pitcher of filtered water that was delicious. Two teachers, a PE teacher and an Art teacher, also made us feel welcome by offering their services and being very friendly. The children were fantastic to work with as well, and we were sad when we had to leave.

Our afternoon show was great too, but after the second one I started to feel my throat tighten up. Uh-oh. By the time we got to the car, it was difficult to speak and impossible to swallow. We checked into our hotel and I immediately climbed into bed, happy that it was the weekend and I had time to recover. I slept from 5 pm til about 10, then went back to sleep after chugging some water. When I woke up at 6 am, my throat was feeling a bit better and it wasn’t as impossible to swallow. I watched the sunrise and made my way to the breakfast room to drink all the orange juice I could get my hands on. I’m able to speak again, but my throat still feels pretty dry and I’m on strict vocal rest so I can kick it in the bum.

Andy and I have two tickets to horse riding stables at 3 pm. You can bet I won’t be missing that. The last time I was on a horse was 11 years ago. Too long, if you ask me. High-ho Silver, away!

Is it too late?

This website makes you think, doesn’t it?

In case you weren’t aware of Worldometer, it is a real-time count of several vital statistics in the world. Interesting numbers include how much water has been consumed this year, money spent on weight loss programs in the US today, and blog posts today.

But most of these numbers are frightening.

Among those numbers is how many hectacres of forest have been lost this year, how many CO2 emissions this year, and then there is energy…

The energy countdowns are interesting because in addition to showing how much oil and gas we are using, it also provides an estimated date of when we run out of oil and gas. As of today we have 15,387 days left in oil and 60,814 days of gas. Energy usage statistics are divided into renewable and non-renewable resources – of which the majority is non-renewable.

Andy and I do our part to educate the youth and ourselves daily. We turn off our lights when we leave the hotel room, we unplug unnecessary appliances, and we conserve the best we know how.

Now a question for you, dear reader! Which of the stats from Worldometer scare you the most? Why?

Purpose

We had the best show today.

With Andy and the Orange Moose of Wisconsin. Not taken today, but I thought it was too good a photo to pass up.

It all started with a drive up the mountains on windy roads. When we got to the town, I went in to meet Principal Richard. Richard is a kind older gentleman, the kind of man you want your children to know. He treats every single one of the kids as his own. He plays with them, jokes with them, gives them hugs.

We set up for the show and we were finished about 20 minutes before go-time. Richard came in and asked if we wanted to start early. We always say yes to that question. So he started bringing the classes into the gym.

The entire pre-K through 6th grade school came to see the show. They were the best audience we’ve had so far. So attentive and excited. When we got to the ‘volunteer’ section of the show, I say the following.

“Looks like I’m going to need some help to defeat the Sneaker! Who wants to volunteer?”

Before I even said the word help, a young boy in the back with an orange sweatshirt on raised his hand like a shot. I typically pick the first hand that goes up, or the child that looks the most excited about answering questions. This boy beat me to the punch, so I immediately went to him.

“What’s your name, mister?”
“Channing!”
“You need a super-hero name, Channing! How about Super Channing? Sound good!”
“Guess so!”

As Andy and I play our scene, occasionally I turn to the volunteer to ask him or her a question pertaining to the information we learn throughout the show. Things like ‘should we turn off the light when we leave the room?” and “Should we ask our parents to replace old lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs?” They are all “yes” answers, but the kids feel like they are contributing and are very excited to be a part of a show.

Channing was no exception to the rule. In fact, he was the rule.

He expounded on the importance of saving energy, interrupting me several times to tell me why we should save energy and how to do it. Teachers were laughing so hard. One of them wiped tears from her face. Another teacher took out a camera and started snapping pictures. The other students were cheering Channing on. It was a lot of great energy.

At the end of the volunteer section, Channing took his seat and he beamed with pride as the students around him gave him high fives and pats on the back. We wrapped up the show and told them they were our best audience. The principal asked us if we could take a photo with the kids, so we posed with them for one smiling shot, then a silly shot. Then they returned to class.

As we were tearing down the set, Richard came back and asked if we wanted some refreshments. He brought us bottles of water and homemade cupcakes. I think it may have been the best cupcake I have ever had. Then he asked us why we chose Channing. I told him simply that typically the first kid to shoot their hand up was paying the most attention and deserves the shot. Then we learned that Channing was autistic. Richard told us how he really came out of his shell with us and how cool it was to see him do that.

We were thrilled to learn that we made such a difference in this young boys life. Beyond that, it was a thrill to share the stage with him! His knowledge of energy conservation put us to shame! He was the best kid ever.

I love my job.