Stranded at the Drive-In

Well, I’m still in Denver.

Leaving Minneapolis last night was bittersweet – but I know I’ll be back come Janurary. I started my journey to Tulsa in high hopes. All my ducks were in a row. I landed in Denver (which now I refer to as Den-verr, through gritted teeth. It’s not your fault Denver that I hate you right now, but you can take it, right?) and made my way to my next gate. Boarding was delayed a couple of minutes, but I was soon in the cabin and ready for take off. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away.

Tornados, though… that’s another story.

We took off towards Tulsa, our pilot assuring us that we were safe in spite of the storms in Oklahoma. We had a smooth flight towards Tulsa for the most part. At one point we were flying over the clouds, cutting off all city light, and had a full sky of stars all around us. It was beautiful. I thought later that it might be the pretty thing I saw, and knowing that was comforting. Thankfully, it wasn’t. I’m still alive.

At first, I felt like Zach Braff in Garden state.

When we got into the turbulence, I stayed calm. When lightening surrounded our plane, I was worried. When we flew around in it for an extra hour waiting for it to clear up so we could land, I panicked. Luckily I had an empty seat next to me, so my anxiety was contained as I put my coat over my head and tried to breathe.

I thought “well shit. This is how it ends for me, huh? I never get to see Max again. Ain’t that some shit. I was going to go to Scotland. I had so much left that I wanted to do. Well at least I got to look at the stars one last time.”

The pilot had turned on Air Traffic Control communications so we could be informed. We all listened in silence. We were being held over Ponca City to see if the storm would move on. It didn’t. It was moving too slow. Then it started heading for us. Two-seven-seven-Tango requested redirect to Wichita. We were granted permission and got the hell out of there. But when we got to Wichita, the airport wouldn’t take us, so we were sent all the way back to Denver.

When we broke through the clouds and saw the stars again, I felt safe and my panic subsided. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get home, but I was thankful I wasn’t in that damn storm anymore.

But I had some other problems. My phone was dead and I had no way of charging it. Airport shops were all closed, so I couldn’t buy one. United offered us vouchers (fuck you and your vouchers, United) for the ‘cheapest hotel stay’ and I decided to get to a hotel then figure out the plan from there. I hopped in an expensive cab (16 bucks for five miles? ) and made my way to the La Quinta where the attendant gave me a rate of 50 bucks and some change, and I went to my hotel room to figure it all out.

I finally got through to Max, who was supposed to pick me up – and he helped me get over my panic and made me smile again. That’s why I love him, guys.

I headed to the airport in the morning – and they have me confirmed for a 5:33 pm flight to Tulsa. I had to pay to check my bag, again. I’m on standby for this 10:33 am flight though – and I hope that works out. I just want to be home.

Those Magic Changes


I'm on a horse

Andy on his high horse

Meet Cole, my mustang on loan from Five Oaks riding stables. He had the softest coat. Our hour-long trot through the mountains was stunning. We couldn’t have picked a better day to make the trip – the weather was a perfect temperature and the leaves were crimson and gold.

Our tour guide, Slim, was a pleasant man who had grown up riding. He retired from the rodeo a few years ago to live at the stables, take care of the horses, and give horseback tours. He suggested coming back to the stables when it snowed – and I can imagine how beautiful it would be.

In the stables with Cole

Sevierville traffic is awful though and we dread it every time Andy and I journey into it. Strangely, it’s only the traffic going south that is terrible, traffic heading north, out of the town, is pleasant. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, it doesn’t matter which day of the week – the main drag is awful and should be avoided at all costs. It’s a tourist trap, for sure.

We left Sevierville behind to travel to Sweetwater, TN for the start of week 7 of tour. Fortunately, we stumbled upon the neatest Cavern called Craighead Cavern. It was a mere jog away from our hotel and after our shows on Monday we treated ourselves to venture out. The coolest thing about these caverns is that deep inside of them is an underground lake called the Lost Sea.

Civil War Era Graffiti, verified by carbon dating and science!

It’s the largest under land lake in the United States – discovered in 1905 by a 13 year old child. In addition to the Lost Sea, the caverns were also home to Confederate Soldiers who mined salt peter in the caverns.

This tour is one of the best tours I’ve done – and I would highly suggest it. I know I will be returning to these caverns to camp overnight. Camp in a cavern? It’s number two on my bucket list right now. (Number one is Scotland to visit Tony and Al – so expect me soon!)

Today’s shows were great, albeit stressful because we had to rush from the morning school in Decatur to the afternoon school in traffic-city Sevierville. Tomorrow is the same song, where we rush from Del Rio to Lenior City. Lando, our blue Hyundai Elantra, is due for another oil change soon – so we’ll have to find time to make that happen. Just another day in the life.

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!

Great Big Stuff

It has been a fantastic week.

Driving through Virginia

We had great shows on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday’s afternoon school was especially awesome, with a great staff and student body that loved the show. I want to send them candy.

NTC presented our show at the NAAEE conference in Raleigh, NC on Thursday, which gave us Wednesday and Friday off for travel.

After Tuesday’s show, we drove to Hillsville, VA to make the drive on Wednesday as short as possible. The drive through Virginia was beautiful. The trees we beginning to all turn a golden color, the road overlooked a beautiful valley, and the clouds were so close we could almost touch them.

Our first order of Sushi at Orchid

Our first of three orders of Sushi at Orchid

We reached Raleigh and checked into our hotel without much to report. (Well we did stop in McDonalds to grab a McRib on the way. It went okay.) The Best Western we stayed at was swanky, because we had done our best to conserve our budget for the nights in Raleigh. That first night lent it’s self to swimming in the mediocre pool and all-you-can-eat made-to-order sushi from a fantastic place called Orchid Japanese Restaurant. It was all-you-can-eat sushi done right. Then we went to the Red Box to rent X-men First Class, because I had hyped it up and Andy had never seen it. He wasn’t disappointed, though he had some critiques – and valid ones. Sushi and movie night was a success.

The next day was our day for the NAAEE conference and we were pumped to present the show to educators and academics alike. We had small crowds, but they were lively and seemed to enjoy the show. The man himself, Mr. Ward Eames, flew in for his panel on Friday and was able to catch our last show. After a successful day, we joined Ward, Kevin, and Beth from TVA for dinner at Zely & Ritz, which is a local/organic restaurant that served the most delicious grit-cake I’ve ever seen. The food was delicious and the company was spectacular.

What we had learned most about Raleigh was it’s excellence in cuisine. Om nom.

The closest to St. Andrews I will be until I visit the crazy kids in Scotland

We left the next morning for a dance with Wilmington, NC. I love Wilmington and plan to return soon. Our first night in Wilmington, I headed off to the historic downtown district by myself in search of coffee and stumbled upon one of the best coffee shops I had ever been in. It was superb. I returned to pick up Andy for Dinner at Caprice Bistro, also in downtown, and had the second best cheese plate ever to grace my lips. The wine was to die for. We then caped the night with more wine and champagne at the Fortunate Glass. A drunk chick walked down the street and stopped to tell me she was a lesbian. A taxi smelling of hemp and blasting Alice Cooper took us back to the hotel. Wilmington done right.

Ocean front

The next morning took us to Goody Goody Omelet House for brunch, then to the beach for sun and fun. The weather couldn’t have been better. I found an assortment of fantastic shells to bring to Allison. The ocean always makes me feel so small and insignificant, but in a good way. It reminds me to stay humble. It also makes me feel lonely. I think this is because I feel like I have to connect with someone, because the vastness of the ocean is, honestly, quite frightening. So I thought of you a lot. And then wrote your name in the sand. And the water came up and took your name away. So it goes.

Book treasure island

We also made it to a fantastic book shop while we were in Wilmington, called Old Books on Front St. The clerk was awesome and the selection was massive, but unfortunately it didn’t have the titles I was looking for. I ended up finding a copy of Caucasian Chalk Circle,Civil Disobedience, and The Hunger Games.

When we returned to our hotel, we found a gentleman who wasn’t wearing any pants. He was wearing an adult diaper and accused me of being a cop. Another woman outside, who looked like she might have been with him, asked me to call the cops. He harassed me for some time before the cops arrived. Five cop cars and two ambulances later, the hotel staff apologized and told me he was a local who wasn’t right in the head. He was a character. I’m not sure what else to say. The next morning two more cop cars were searching a room on the other side of the hotel. We said a quick goodbye to Wilmington with the promise that we would be back, though not staying at that hotel. Eek.

No kidding

Now we are back at our favorite Super 8 in Knoxville, ready for week 6 of our tour. Tomorrow afternoon we return briefly to Kentucky, hoping we won’t run into our friend from last time. Regardless, everyday I am shocked to wake up and realize that I’m getting paid for this shit. Andy and I toast to it at every glass of wine. We are the luckiest actors in Eastern Tennessee, if not the world.

I’ll leave you with one last gem – Ecto-1 is in North Carolina.

Just In Time

We are half way through our tour. I will be home to you soon.

In the General Lee bumper car

This last week has been great. Shows are humming along, Schools are fantastic, and I’m never going back to Kentucky if I can help it.

We had a woman tell us that we were unamerican in Kentucky. She said that we were supporting China by brainwashing kids to use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Strange to me, because I use GE compact florescent lightbulbs… She also said that the myth that compact florescents save energy is the biggest scam in the american economy. I wanted to direct her attention to the Occupy movement, but I thought better of it and Andy smiled and nodded and said we would look into it ourselves.

We kissed the ground when we got back to Tennessee.

This weekend has been an adventure in the Dollywood area. We stayed in a suite in Gatlinburg with all the money we saved from staying in cheapo-hotels during the week. These cheapo hotels don’t always have the best internet connection, which is why my updates this week have been sparse. Gatlinburg has an Oktoberfest that runs every day in October, and four handsome German boys welcomed us into the city. *swoon despite their awful haircuts* We checked into our hotel then set off to explore Gatlinburg.

We walked everywhere from our hotel, which was brilliant and allowed us to partake in some excellent beverages at a little place called Crawdaddy’s – which was delicious and a good time. We met some other travelers and had drinks and good times with them. One of the crew, Emily, is supposed to send me the photos from the evening and I’ll post them on here in all their glory as soon as she does.

Richard the TomTom kept telling us 'bear left' and then we found THIS guy!

The next day we woke up and checked out and walked around Gatlinburg some more. We had a delicious brunch at the Flapjacks pancake cabin. We were told that the Pancake Pantry was the place to go, but when we got there – the line stretched around the building for days. While I’m sure their pancakes were delicious, we had no intention of standing in line for hours and then being rushed through our meal. Instead we trotted down to Flapjacks and I can’t imagine Pancake Pantry being better – Flapjacks was the best breakfast that I have EVER had, and for 8 bucks I had a heaping helping of Oatmeal, raisins, milk, brown sugar, a banana, toast, apple butter, and sausage links that were out of this world. According to Andy, “Pancake Pantry probably also included free handjobs under the table during breakfast.” I think they might, judging by the size of that line. In light of that, however, Flapjacks comes highly recommended on Rebecca and Andy budget breakfast ratio. Delicious.

After noms, we made our way to the self-proclaimed “South’s number one psycic”, Rene Rose in where else but Gatlinburg. I wanted my tarot read. The following is what I was told. Things in Italics are something I think is true about myself, things struck-through are things I don’t think are true, things in bold are things that haven’t happened (yet) but will occur according to the cards. 

The journey that I am on as an actor is a spiritual journey. This is an important journey to me but I will eventually find my calling in something else, most likely in psychology or counseling. (When I asked her about teaching she said she didn’t see that for me.)

I do lots of counseling in my daily life and always have. People tell me their problems and I feel responsible to fix them or find them the help they need. This is especially true with my family, but also my friends. I don’t always enjoy my work with them, but I feel like I must do it because it would not be done without me. 

She asked me if I felt like I could foretell the future at times. I said yes, because I really do predict things happening before they occur. She then asked if that frightened me. I told her, honestly, that it did. She said I had nothing to be afraid of. This is because I was a spiritual healer in a past life. She said this was because my past lives are accessible to me, most especially my life as a spiritual healer.

I carry a lot of my pain on the inside, choosing to cry and deal with it alone. I have lots of tears and I shed them behind closed doors. I should burn a white candle each night before I go to bed to heal myself from the burdens I carry. I do this to protect and be strong for my family and friends. They come to be with troubles and I carry the burdens for them. 

Max is hesitant and suspicious of me, perhaps with good cause. In the past, we have always been out of sync. One of us has been more dedicated than the other, though we will find soon that we are completely in sync. I will be married in time to Max. We will have two children. The first will be a girl. We will always have plenty of money, but not excess of wealth. Money appears when needed in our lives.

I will find much success in my current work and life.

Laundry Day

3/3 actors drink Jack Daniels

Dinner at Fast Jack's in Tulahoma, TN

Well we’ve been staying in an econolodge in Morristown with shakey internet, so posts this week have been few and far between. As in, there haven’t been any. So now that I’m at the Red Roof Inn and have the best suite ever, let’s catch up, shall we?

Nashville with Michael and John was lots of fun. We had many adventures.

Friday night started with a crawl in downtown Nashville with the boys. Having come from Eastern Time Zone and driving 4 hours, I was pretty exhausted early so we turned in early for a full day on Saturday.

When we woke Saturday, John and Michael’s car, Prudence, had a flat tire. Several hours later, she was in good shape thanks to the boys at Firestone, and we were on our way to Lynchburg, TN to visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. The distillery was awesome, but it ended in a whimper instead of a bang – because Lynchburg is still a dry county. Instead of a taste of Jack, we were rewarded with lemonade.

Can you tell we were hammered?

In front of the Ryman in Nashville

To quench our thirst, we went the next county over to a bar and steak house called Fast Jack’s. The locals told us it was the best, and they were not wrong. The food was delicious and the whiskey flowed.

We made it back to Nashville and went out again to the downtown scene. Saturday night was much better, because I was far from tired. John sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” with the beautiful songstress Morgan, and we all danced. The next morning I had a blister the size of a nickel on my toe. Success.

Headed out early Sunday morning to catch up with Andy in Knoxville and set up for Week 3 of tour. We have spent the last week in great schools with great kids. We did, however, have a challenging show where the entire audience wouldn’t stop chatting. This included the teachers. Afterwards a Kindergardener approached us and said “I wish you would have done it better because that was horrible.” Despite her remarks, we had other encouraging words from other children – so perhaps not all was lost.

We stay in Knoxville again this weekend. Shenanigans will ensue. I’ve heard tale of taxi cabs and dancing. And my blister is gone, so it’s time to make a new one.

The Little Things You Do Together

Tonight is our last night in Johnson City, TN. We move on from here westward a bit, towards Knoxville.

I swear I have a dress on.

Karaoke at Numans

Last night we had a time. We decided to treat ourselves to some Red Lobster, I rekindled a friendship with one of my near and dearest, and decided to celebrate by going to the swankiest place in town. Karaoke was had (Andy sang ‘Rock this Town’ by the Stay Cats and I ironically belted out some ‘Maybe This Time’ a la Liza Minnelli) and drinks were consumed. We made an adventure to a liquor store for some cheaper alternatives to bar drinks, but found that a distillery in Gatlinburg, TN had started taxing and bottleing (Mason-jar-ing?) moonshine. When in Rome one must listen to Dixie and drink Moonshine.

The stuff smelled awful. A “close friend of mine” (read: myself) has had real, honest-to-god, can’t-tax-this-shit-because-if-you-drink-it-you-might-die moonshine from a jug, which was delicious. This was NOT that kind of moonshine. But the girl in the liquor store said that it was the best that she could offer, so we made it happen.

I really don’t like to waste my liquor, but damn – I’m not letting that stuff touch my lips again.

This weekend will be fun. I’m leaving Andy to have a solo mission in Nashville. I’ll meet up with John and Michael in Franklin and fun will be had in Nashville on Friday night. Come Saturday, we will travel to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, TN (a DRY county, by the way. What is this world coming to?) and then I’ll head back to meet Andy and start Week 3 of Tour.

I know I say this a lot… But I love my job.

Live in Living Color

The Happy Couple

One of my nearest and dearest, Kaytee, got married this weekend – and I was only able to attend in spirit. She fell in love with Sky, and fell in love hard, and Sky would have been a fool not to put a ring on it. I’m living through her photos of the beautiful wedding.

Kaytee and I were paired together as acting partners on the first day of our Intro to Acting class at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. We found that we had lots in common quickly – and a friendship grew that continues to be strong. She is so real. And she’s a fan of this Sky guy, I guess.

Sky and I met when he transferred to Southeastern. This was before they started dating. (unlike Max, who transferred as we were dating… perhaps made a difference in how he was perceived, perhaps not) He was a cool cat, and I remember vividly the day that Kaytee told me that she thought he might be a good catch. We were walking down the ramp by UC300 to work on a big project for tech theatre.

The Blushing Bride

Kaytee was such a beautiful bride! Everything looked spectacular at the wedding. I wish I could have been there to give the happy couple my personal congratulations.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Pettett

Missing out on days like yesterday is the hardest part of this job. I take that back, it’s the only hard part of the job. But man, it hurts. Luckily I will return home for Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday – but it’s the days in between that I’m missing most.

I had a dream I was back in Oklahoma last night and no one remembered me. I know this won’t be the case – and I feel silly for even fearing it. I wish I could brush off my homesickness today, but I guess it’s part of the job and something I’ll have to deal with. Of course, Andy and I are having lots of fun – but some days I just miss the familiar face of home and that’s all there is to it.

So what I’m saying is: feel free to Skype me.