Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Nothing Gold Can Stay

On the Monday of the last week of school this term, two of our former teachers had babies. One was a miracle baby, born after a long, prayer filled battle with infertility; the other a honeymoon pregnancy conceived without struggle. One lived. One did not.

Surprisingly, it was the honeymoon baby who visited only briefly, leaving a hand-print on the hearts of her devastated parents; parents who had been told that she was not well designed for this world and who chose to faithfully trust and prepare for her arrival anyway. The reality of her fleeting 6 hour visit has left them broken.

I question the wisdom of their miracle seeking faith. To me, if God had seen fit to let me know before hand that this baby was not going to live, I would have taken that information and prepared myself, and the people around me, who love me, as best I could. Is it not miracle enough that we can see inside the womb and see the truth of things? But I am wrong to make this judgement. None of us can know, with certainty, what we would choose to do faced with the shattering loss of the 'yet to come'.

I'm feeling a certain guilt that several of us, who were privy to the possibility, have discussed and pronounced and shaken our heads in disbelief at this couple's decision to believe. I am torn between the 'well, what did they expect?' and an angry awe that their faith was strong enough to allow them to take this road, ending as it did in such savage loss.

And it has connected with a loss in me which I have been feeling for some time now and had been unable to name. A loss which comes to me in dreams of a knobbly kneed laughing girl with freckles and golden hair, calling for me across a garden, or down some stairs, or past the faces of her friends in the school yard.

Because, as guilty as I feel for having had her for longer than 6 hours, she is indeed, just as devastatingly, gone.

And it doesn't stop me dreaming of her, and waking with wet cheeks and a hole in my heart because the reality is that her grown-up self is separating from me; ever so gradually, piece by piece, moment by moment, as inexorably as the rolling seasons.

Of which this grief, is one.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Back In May.......9 To 5

I cannot give this place up. Look at me, back here after months of absence. It's like a guilty pleasure. I don't even know who I'm reaching anymore, but heck, I do love journalling...even if it is months after the event.

So back in May I took part in my second show with The Met, '9 To 5'. Yes, as in Dolly Parton.
I didn't know anything about the show when I went to the information night and as I'm not a huge country music fan, I was a little dubious. Listening to the director talk about the show and the characters, I was caught up in the excitement and, listening to the song for the character I thought I could play......I was even more convinced.

I didn't get the part I wanted, but I did get my second choice, the office lush, Margaret.

That's me, the fat chick on the left in the wig......

This role was so much fun. I got to choose the wildest 70s clothes I could find, that Margaret may have put on blindly in a 'morning after haze'. Check out my faaabulous green eyeshadow while you're there......

This photo disturbed me when I saw my double chin but, you know what? We are what we are nowadays! I even got to play with a real typewriter! What a flashback...... 

The fantasy dream sequences saw us 'dancing' like complete twits.......

And I got to 'emote' furiously in the background whilst having minimal lines to remember. WIN!

I loved playing around with attention to detail. A number of people said "Do you know you've got your buttons done up wrong..." until they looked me in the eye and went.."Oh, right....On purpose...I get it"

Here's a bit more 'emoting'.....

As a bonus, I got to play the cleaner in the hospital scene. 
Knowing she had to cover a complicated scene change at the end, the director asked me to mop the stage back and forwards until the office had been set up again. After all, there are cleaners at hospitals AND offices....
My wicked heart leapt at the idea of being alone onstage with a mop...with no direction....haha! 
The possibilities...heh heh hehh....
Until the director said..."oh, Arizaphale, while you're there, do something funny..."
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THE PRESSURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To my delight (and surprise), I got applause each night.
I didn't actually do that much, so I guess I must just look funny.
Either that or some audiences are easily pleased.....
I actually think I was channeling my grandmother in this scene.

That's her in the middle. What do you think?

But all this unattractiveness was ok because at the end of the show I got to 'go to rehab'  and come back on..almost unrecognisable!
(This was dress rehearsal and I eventually got my own hair to behave a bit better by wearing a wig cap under the hideous wig....but I'm sure you get the idea.)

To my astonishment, I usually got a round of applause for this transformation too! 
Audiences here are too kind......

I had such a lot of fun on this production. I remember standing in the wings during the opening to the final show and offering up a silent prayer of thanks for, the opportunity to do, this thing I love. I also made the decision, at the 'after party', to finally, after all these years, take singing lessons; a journey which is bringing both grief and joy and tearing away a whole bunch of preconceptions and inhibitions.....

Buoyed by this experience I auditioned for a role in the next production, 'Bye Bye Birdie'. I didn't get it, which in years gone by would have totally destroyed me, but, I am a wiser girl who actually trusts God to put me 'where I need to be' nowadays. I have a lot of stuff going on at work at the moment. There are opportunities for change which could have a far reaching positive impact on my ministry to children with Learning Disabilities. Additionally, I needed a rest. Sitting here now, 5 months later, I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not currently in the frantic lead up to production that would rob me of my upcoming holidays and the clear mind needed to consider a plan of action for systemic change.

I have signed up for the SALOS Christmas concert however! Low stress, a bit of fun and an outlet for the creative show off in my soul..

I'll hopefully see you sooner rather than later folks!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Ten Years Later

I am becoming very reflective of late. 

It is ten years since I started this blog. 

This is what I looked like then.

I was recently married, full of joy, excitement, and looking toward the future.

 Ten years later  
I am still full of joy and looking toward the future. It's just that a significant part of my time is caught up in dealing with pain. My own and that of others.
There is the pain of my own aging: sciatica,  tennis elbow, cataracts.
There is the pain of watching those you love gradually exiting this life.
There is the pain of seeing your beloved child struggle with a plan for their future.

Ten Years Later

I am on my own again.
I am saddened by failure. I am  relieved by financial security.
I am not looking for another partner.

Ten Years Later

I love my job.
 I love the progress I have made. I know I should be able to do it better. I think I may finish my working life here.

Ten Years Later
I love love love my house
I know how much more love it still needs.
It fills me with joy every day.

Ten Years Later
I am back on stage.

So that's good.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Taming The Wasteland

When I bought my beloved house, and I do mean beloved, my one reservation was the garden. And I use the term loosely.

I mean.... it is more of a wasteland....

You see I'm on a slope and the garden drops off at an alarming rate. No-one seems to have done anything with the space except let gum trees grow. And weeds.

And as you can see, the fences were not overly secure either.....

I had one way down to the shed at the lower level, exiting onto the street below.

Now, the handrail was pretty indeed. But the stairs were dodgy.. These few look ok but...generally the tree roots were causing havoc with any constant level.

When I went off to the UK in September I listened with interest to the reports of storms and blackouts in my home town. I was pretty relaxed until I received this image.

One of my gracious gums had given up the ghost and sighed out of life across my staircase.

Sadly, this is what remained of my staircase:

Not pretty, or safe! So I started the old insurance procedure around recovering for damages caused by fallen trees. Getting someone to quote was a nightmare but finally a very nice man came and gave me several options. In the end, this is the one I went with:
I've got to say it's a massive improvement. Still got a bit of planting etc to do but I am excited....
Hopefully we can look to taming this wasteland next year....

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My Grief Surprised Me

Four years ago I picked the BA up off a plane. This happened every holidays. It was nothing new. Except that this time it was. My tousle haired baby emerged from the arrivals ramp alongside a dark hair pimply youth! Alright, he wasn't exactly pimply; in fact he was quite nice looking, in a young sort of way, but he was a complete stranger! And they were exchanging phone numbers!

Feeling particularly awkward,  I actually walked in front of them for some distance until the BA called me in to 'introduce' this young man. Apparently they had been seated next to one another on the plane. I was cynical in the extreme. Surely we wouldn't hear from HIM again.

A week later he was in my house chatting to me about where he was going to take my daughter out.  Then he said he had to go because he was off to church....
My heart melted.

The BA's lovely beau was in the Army. I thought of calling him 'Army Boy' but the raw fact is I got to know him so much better than that. So, in a hat tip to 'Band of Brothers' I am going to call him Richard.

When she met him, Richard was a country boy from New South Wales, stationed in South Australia. Initially this didn't seem to be a huge problem, but eventually, it would be the death knell of their relationship.

I've got to hand it to them. Them survived separations that would test most of us. He was deployed to Afghanistan for 3 months. They survived that. She decided to take her gap year overseas. It stretched to 18 months. They survived that. In the end, he decided to move back to NSW to study and they faced the prospect of splitting up. They were both so unhappy about the idea that those of us closest to them said.."why split up?" And so, for about eight months, these two lovely young people kept their relationship on hold. They visited each other for a week or so here and there.
And every time they had to leave each other they felt bad.

After our overseas trip in October, the BA finally pulled the pin. The separations were too much and, at the end of the day as Richard pointed out, they didn't really have an end plan. I got the feeling he might like to  have one, but there's a big difference between 21 and 24. The BA is not ready to think about settling down yet, and if she was I'm not at all sure she'd want to do it in country New South Wales. He is such a sensible lad. He didn't pressure her or make suggestions he knew she wasn't ready for. He just let nature take its course. I'm so grateful to him for that.

This way, The BA has made the decision, and although it was hard, and she still cries about it over a month later, it wasn't a rejection.

But I am surprised by how much I miss him. He was around for 4 years and helped us out through a lot of awful rubbish in the last two.

He will make someone a lovely husband and I hope the BA finds someone closer who will do the same thing for her.

Meanwhile we cuddle on the sofa and watch comfort TV.

Other things I said about these guys

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

On the Rollercoaster Heading Down.....

I leave for the UK on 23rd of September, which is, co-incidentally, the day my school audit is due. What does this mean? It means that instead of a leisurely and enjoyable few weeks spending evenings: planning my wardrobe; packing and repacking my suitcase; and preparing the house, cats and pot plants for my absence; I will be spending long nights in at work catching up on all the paperwork I should hvae been doing whilst I was gallivanting about in the theatre.
There. I've admitted it.
Mind you, my recent 'theatre free time' has not been completely 'clean'. I made some prop knives the other day.

Play: 12 Angry Men
Brief: Make some identical 'distinctive' knives with ornate carved handles, capable of being stabbed into a table top.

So here is where we started.
Three identical plastic handled folding knives.

First job was filling the grooves with putty to give me a flat 'ish' surface to work on.

Next I undercoated them all in two coats of black enamel paint (the kind you use to paint model aircraft).

Finally I transferred a dragon design on to the handles using an internet design and some 'conte'.

Some red paint (2 coats) and some gold highlights.

A couple of coats of varnish....

I think they turned out ok.

Next step is to take the one which is waved in an actor's face and have the very real blade ground off!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Loving My Creative Life

Look what leaving your husband can do for you.......

Sugar, The Musical:

My return to the stage after 13 years.


JoJo....and yes, she was a girl in this production....

Our bird girls! Loved these outfits, and the day after this, we dyed all their shoes orange with my brand new washing machine (the other one died)

And here's the Amazing Mayzee!

From the back for privacy reasons; the same reasons that see my lovely kids with lime green squares over their faces in the other picture......

Horton! Best ever ears.....(not made by me)

Mayor and Mayoress of Whoville
We had so much fun with these costumes....

Then there was........


I was just a backstage type..... but here are my charges...

The Tin Man

The winged monkeys.....

Look at these guys!!!! <3 p="">

Herself in her insignificance, posing in front of the Emerald City...............

Finally: Pirates of Penzance.
This is the first act set which I oainted from scratch. My colleague is adding a boat.

This is the second act ruined chapel, which my partner did. Except for the crappy tombstones. they were all my own work :-(

I must have painted and repainted these guys 5 times!

Here's the first incarnation, when my aging techniques rendered them utter unreadable from a distacne.

And here's a final version of one of them.

So now I am officially 'show free' until after my trip to the UK.
What, wait....I didn't tell you about my overseas trip??????
Stay tuned....