Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I See a Future in Hosting a Late Night Talk Show

During breakfast this morning, the following conversation took place:

Mackenzie: "Mom, how old are you?"

Me: "Old"

Mackenzie: "You're 40. Right?"

Me: "Uhm . . . maybe."


Mackenzie: (smirking) "I'll take that as a 'yes.'"

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Well Hello, Dolly!

When I was growing up, I did plenty of "normal" stuff. Normal, by most people's standards, was Girl Scouts, dance lessons, piano lessons, church choir and vacation Bible school.

But there was another part of my life . . . a part that made up a large part of my childhood and one that I wouldn't have traded for the world.

You see, I grew up in a dance studio-almost literally, as for quite some time, my mom's studio was located in the basement of our home.

I also did a lot of growing up in theatres . . . community theatre mostly and I have great memories of those days.

It was a family thing actually. My mom went straight to New York City out of high school, pursuing her dream of dance. Her parents, mainly her father, made her promise to spend a certain allotment of time taking classes before working-that this was to be her "college" and that she needed to focus on studying rather than performing.

The Lord had other plans and in the midst of that time that she was studying dance, voice and acting, on a lark she went to an audition. She said it then and continues to say it now-that she never went with the intention of getting the job, but rather to meet Gower Champion . . . famed choreographer and in her eyes, an idol.

As she continued to make cuts down to smaller and smaller groups of dancers, she found herself in the final group, hearing words of congratulations from Mr. Gower Champion himself-who ironically hadn't even been at that first audition she went to in hopes of meeting him. But there she stood . . . face to face with the legend and now one of his dancers in his latest Broadway Show, "Hello Dolly," starring Carol Channing.

Quite a number of years followed those days of performing with Carol Channing, when my mom sat with me and my sister in the Orpheum Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska waiting for the lights to dim and the overture to begin. We were waiting to see Ms. Channing in a revival performance of "Dolly." After the show, we made our way backstage. The original stage manager was still there and whisked us off to Carol's dressing room right away. When her door opened and my mom walked into the room, my mouth dropped open. Carol recognized her immediately and called her by name-looking back and forth between her and then to me and my younger sister. "You have babies!" she chortled! "You have babies!"

It was a surreal moment, to say the least. I won't ever forget it.

But back to the days of growing up with theatre in my life . . . while other kids were watching television after school, sometimes we were on television. My younger sister Happi, in particular, did a lot of theatre and modeling as a child and it wasn't uncommon to see her smiling self on the evening news during a feature piece on the latest theatre offering in Omaha or to open up the newspaper and see her in advertisments. As a gradeschooler, she was cast as "Annie" in a nearly year-long run of the show at a dinner theatre downtown. A few years later as she grew out of the little red dress, she was costumed in another red dress . . . as Dolly Levi in a children's production of "Hello Dolly." With my mom's ties to the show, it made for a great family affair as she choreographed the musical and us three sisters, Happi and Darci and I, got to share the "Dolly" experience on stage together with her.

Fast forward to today. Happi is all grown up. She is married to my sweet brother-in-law Jerry and is the mom of two rock stars, Cody and Caden. (Understand that "rock star" is the term we use in our house for anyone that our girls seem to be enamored with and those two boys are definite rock stars in their world!) As I sat at the computer one afternoon a couple of months ago, my mouth dropped open when I learned that Happi (on a lark-does THAT sound familiar?) had auditioned with Jerry for a local community theatre production of "Dolly" and was cast in the lead role. I didn't even know she'd gone to an audition so my shock was fully making up for the fact that I got ahold of this news through Facebook. (No worries sissy . . . I've forgiven you for not calling me and telling me personally!) ;-)

Jerry got to join Happi on the stage for this production and last night we sat and watched Happi transform into Dolly Levi once again. I would be lying if I said it wasn't an emotional evening. To make it even sweeter, my mom had been invited to recreate the actual "Hello Dolly" number along with another piece in the show. As we watched the waiters reenact their reunion with Dolly at the Harmonia Gardens, my mom and I had silent tears rolling down our faces . . . so many memories . . . faces from other "Dolly" casts no longer with us and memories of a bittersweet time in our life in Omaha. I can't even put it into words all the emotions we experienced last night, but most of all, it was fantastic to see my sister back on a theatre stage again. In a word, she was simply AWESOME!

"Hello Dolly . . . it's so nice to have you back where you belong." I am so proud of you and Jerry and am fiercely proud to be your sister, whether you are on or off stage. Blessed I am and also so thankful that you were able to bring Dolly to life for us once again. Have a great rest of the run and enjoy every minute! I love you!


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The ABC's of Summer

A is for ABUNDANCE of raspberries at Nanna and Papa Dean's house

B is for BEACH!

C is for COUSINS

D is for DRIVE IN

E is for ELEPHANT EARS (Coming soon to a fair near you)

F is for FRIENDS (and sisters too!)

G is for GARDEN

H is for HOT

I is for ICE CREAM


K is for KIDS



N is for NEW . . . as in the new worship center at our church that we moved into this week!

O is for OPPORTUNITY for kicking back with a good book.

P is for PAYBACKS (never give Mackenzie a shovel, her sister, and a beach full of sand).

Q is for QUIET moments

R is for READING PROGRAM at our library


T is for TRAINING and TRIATHLONS (Gregg finished the city triathlon today in 1:11 . . . I'm so proud of him!)

U is for "UP" . . . my new favorite movie!
V is for VACATION from the norm.
X is for XXXOOO summer!
Y is for YARD WORK
Z is for ZZZZzzzzz later in the mornings!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Gregg!

Once upon a time, when I was dating a certain young man, I not only knew that he would make a great husband but that he would also be a terrific dad.

A few years later, I learned that my hunch was correct. Gregg turned out to be a great husband indeed and a terrific dad twice over.

I won't ever forget the day that our first daughter, Cassidy, was born. Once we had a few moments alone several hours after her birth, Gregg urged me to get some rest. I rolled over on my tummy (ah, heaven), closed my eyes and popped them open 30 seconds later to stare at the new small person laying in the bassinet next to my bed. Gregg's eyes met mine and he again, urged me to sleep.

Sleep never did come that afternoon. I tried, but I just couldn't take my eyes off the sight of that miracle laying beside me. The funny thing was, neither could Gregg and as I peeked at him several times while I was "sleeping," I fell in love with him all over again. He was completely smitten with that tiny baby who had just come into our world.

One more child and several years later, Gregg is still the dad that I anticipated he would turn out to be. He is a kid at heart himself, but brings a mix of that famous Bill Cosby line "I brought you into this world and I'll take you out" when necessary. He can name all the Disney princesses without hesitation and makes certain to note his appreciation of "twirly" dresses and accessories to match when the girls are all dressed up.

More recently, Gregg received some bonus points in the area of "cool dad." At an overnight reading event at Cassidy's school, staff and several parents portrayed famous characters from books. At the invitation of Cassidy's teacher, Gregg portrayed Harry Potter that evening.

It wasn't necessarily the fact that he was willing to act the part, but more that he literally went to new heights with his character . . .

and sailed into the festivities on a zip line that he and another father had rigged up in the gym.

Later that night, Cassidy said that it was "so cooooooool" and several of her friends agreed. In her school now, Gregg is known as Harry Potter.

I'm so glad I married this man. I couldn't ask for a better guy to share my life with and this journey called "parenthood."

So today, I'm wishing him the happiest birthday ever!

Happy Birthday, Gregg! You are the best and I love you dearly! Have a fantastic day!