Winter Love

Is anyone else tired of hearing about the weather? Seems like every time I look at social media, there is another status about the cold, or the snow, or the wind chill….

That complaining done, I too am going to talk about the weather. My not-so-secret secret is that I  actually enjoy the cold. I understand that part of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I have a warm home to retreat to in times of bitter weather, but I recognize that and count it as a blessing. That understanding aside, I love walking out bundled in all my knits. The moment I open the outer door I feel an instant and overwhelming urgency to live. Cold infuses a deep passion in me to walk further, open my eyes wider, and breathe more deeply. Extreme cold shocks my nerves into remembrance that I am made of fire, light, and bright things. In comparison, extreme heat just makes me feel like a gelatinous blob of water that should probably just stay still and continue to melt (and be horrendously miserable). 

Winter is a time of precision. The branches of the trees tracing ink lines in the sky drawing the eye upward to the crisp motion of birds and, when the sky is not a sheet of slate gray dullness, the early moonrise. Snow falling is the most holy of silences, with flakes falling in delicate spirals of delicious force. The world feels so vulnerable and the bitterness biting my face sings of my own vulnerability. Nature can still level and stun me. I am barely capable of surviving it outside of the comfort of my own home, but this does not cause me fear. This knowledge causes me to grit my teeth and remember my brightness. For stars still gleam on frozen nights and the tiny sparks of Spring are just waiting for the moment when they can come forth and dance. Winter is for patience and dancing in one’s  vulnerability in the midst of the vast forces of this beautiful place.

What a lovely weekend

This weekend has been one of those rare times where every day has been beautiful in its simplicity and surprises. Back when I was working at the Park, I wrote more about the simpler aspects of my life and I think I should get back to doing some of that. Here is my awesome weekend at home.

Friday was the surprise beginning. Due to situations beyond our control, the Guru and I decided to head out early and just rearrange our hours in the coming week. Thus, I had a half day on Friday. Handsome and I decided to go out for dinner and we happened to be craving Mexican. I had heard of a spot called Alto Cinco, so we headed for there. Aside from the stupidly long wait due to their tiny dining area (supposedly they are expanding soon) the food was completely worth the wait. The dishes were executed with simplicity and truly incredible flavor. Plus the beer selection found Handsome and myself quite happy. I then closed the night with a long overdue phone chat with the lovely Persephone which often puts me in good spirits.

The morning started off with another wondrous surprise. If you read the previous post, you know that I just recently finished a scenic design for a show. Well, Saturday morning, I opened my facebook to a message from someone I did not know. The message came with a link and a simple “thought you would want to read this.” Turns out the link was to a review of the show in DCMetro Theatre Arts and that review happened to have a whole paragraph of positive words about my set!!!! This is my first review and to have my work so clearly understood and celebrated nearly made me cry. Upon reading the entire piece I was also happy to see that the writer was very balanced in her opinions. She did not inflate everything with flattery, nor did she tear the production apart with nastiness. She dealt with the production fairly and with intelligence. I am deeply moved that she found my work effective.

Armed with that star of warmth, Handsome and I went off to run errands. Errands are excellent fun when they include the Army Surplus Store (yay new work drab and a Mussette bag to replace my broken backpack), the farmers market (delicious and cost effective), and Target (new shoes for both). The day was kind of icky, so I convinced Handsome to go see Disney’s Frozen. Although I did not think the music was as stellar as usual, the animation was absolutely stunning and the story heart warming. The theater was in a huge mall and upon our exit Handsome suggested we go into the Apple Store. I was hesitant at first, because although I’m in the market for a new computer, I have not saved up quite enough. Such a state can make me grumpy in the Apple Store because I just want my new stuff now!! Still, Handsome cajoled, persuading me that looking at machines now rather than later would help me do a better cost analysis. Upon entering, I was greeted by a fellow coworker from the Stage. I knew he worked at the Store, but I did not know he would be working that day. Turns out I gathered a lot of excellent information from both him and the lovely young lady he was training. I am a person who uses her technology into the ground. Thus, good information about a future purchase (especially when that information is about excellent discounts) is as precious to me as the item itself. We ended that day with an egg and lemon soup that was surprisingly delicious and a light compliment to the previous evening’s gorging.

Today, a simple and productive day. Went to another church (cross your fingers, we’re gonna try it a few more times) and spent the rest of the day cleaning and restoring the apartment to pre-Christmas look. Do you want to know the best part of the day? Handsome and I cuddling under a blanket and dozing on and off for a few hours. In fact, this weekend was mainly wonderful because Handsome and I got so much time together after a long stint of being separated/only being together for a day or two/seeing each other in between craziness etc. I love him, I love living with him, and this weekend was everything and more because we got it completely to ourselves.

Tired but Exhilarated (oh, and go see a show)

I am bushed.

I spent most of my break from my “regular” job running about Baltimore attempting to make a design a reality. I did the scenic design for a show called Where the Whangdoodle Sings and it is being presented by a local (to Baltimore) theatre company called Generous Company. A number of my good friends are in the company and having heard the script at a reading, I was extremely excited to be invited into the process. The script is new to the scene and I was profoundly affected by the piece when I first heard it read two years ago. The piece has definitely shifted since I first heard it, but the core energy of the work is preserved with an honesty that I often find lacking in modern pieces. As a designer, the script gave me plenty of tasty puzzles that mapped a landscape of strength and simplicity. My aesthetic is well suited to such a landscape.

The elements of lights, set, costumes, and props are things that the audience doesn’t often consider. The production team is meeting and collaborating long before the actors set foot in rehearsal. The director presents the vision and then we fly.  As the great Eleanor Fuchs says, each play is a tiny planet with its own rules, climate, passage of time etc.  That planet is born anew with every new production. The design is where our understanding of the planet begins to breathe. As a set designer, I offer the actors a world to play within and I offer an audience an invitation to come join them. The other designers sculpt their own invitations and together we create a collaborative effort that looks effortless once the actors give our elements life.

Whangdoodle was not easy to realize. There were definite limitations that characterized our work and ,ultimately, made it our own by blood and fire. Perhaps I sound melodramatic, but over the course of the eight days I was in Baltimore, I saw and experienced every possible emotion such a process can inspire. What overwhelms me most is my feeling of bone deep  gratitude. So deep is my gratitude that, if you would humor me, I would like to raise a figurative glass and give some toasts:

To the Alchemist and  the BrightLady!  (for housing myself and Handsome for the week, hauling my butt around on so many shopping trips and trips to the theatre, and glorious conversation)

To Herculine! (for stepping up and putting my dreams together into physical structures)

To Strong-Woman! (for helping me complete effects that would never have been finished without her assistance)

To Handsome! (for joining me for New Years and then offering copious love and support in the brief moments we could spend together)

To Wonder Woman! (who ran such a tight ship in the midst of stormy waters)

To Jesus Christ! (for keeping me together and keeping my focus outside of myself)

This show is good. The team that put this together is a fine group of people who are all dedicated to telling this story with honesty and love. If you are in the Baltimore area in the next two weeks, take an evening and go see Where the Whangdoodle Sings at the Baltimore Theatre Project (dates and times can be found by clicking the link preceding these parentheses). Tis a piece worth experiencing.