Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hand Jive - Part 2

Well...the bruise on my knee is almost gone. Still tingles a bit if I hit it on something, but I'm limping along nicely.

I was quite cynical in my last blog. I know that now.

It took a great deal for me to get to the point where I could look at my audition as a good thing. I choked on the vocals and well, let's face it, I'm not Ginger Rogers. I'm not even Mister Rogers. And I'm okay with that. I know that I have rhythm. I know that I can dance when not under such incredible pressure.

So...why is it a good thing if I didn't get the part (cast list was posted today, btw)?

I stepped out of a zone of comfort that I have NEVER done before. Who the hell AM I anymore? I mean, really? I thought I had myself this great little niche carved in the world - wife, mom...the whole suburbia thing. Then I decide to open my own photography business. Next, I decide to share in a public blog very personal things about myself, my life, my marriage and my family that most people wouldn't be so open about. Now this.

I guess I feel like I get one spin at this wheel of life - why hesitate? Why hold back? Why be such a raging chicken shit all the time? So I bombed ONE audition. There's more. I'll get my toe in the door, then I'll train some with a voice coach (man, I need you, Ann!!!) and maybe some acting classes. or maybe not. Who knows.

Bottom line - I'm busting open fences I never thought I would. And if I must say so myself...I'm pretty proud of myself. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Confessions

These are my confessions

1. I am scared of anything in big numbers (swarms of bugs, groups of people, geese...omg, geese! I HATE geese!)
2. I love 80's movies and you would have a hard time beating me at 'Scene It'
3. I raised myself for two years, off and on, while my mother was sick.
4. I would love to own a designer purse..just once...but I'll *never* buy it for myself.
5. I have four tattoos, but I HATE needles!
6. I have been in love with three men throughout my life and they couldn't possibly be more different from one another. I am also still in contact with all three.
7. I love the dark and the quiet.
8. I would love to live in a big city for a year...just to see what it's like.
9. I love to lay outside in winter and listen to the click of snowflakes hitting the ground...but I haven't done it in years.
10. Clowns scare the hell out of me. Cirque du Soleil was my personal hell, though I did enjoy the show - as long as they stayed on the stage and nowhere near me.
11. I have always had the horrible habit of biting my nails...and can't seem to stop.
12. I have to sleep with at least one of my cats or I don't sleep well.
13. I used to have three bookshelves full of books, but have diminished my collection down to about one (possibly two). 90% of which I have read more than once.
14. I have been cooking since I was six. The first thing I ever made was chili.
15. I miss my mother more than any other person in the world.
16. I once performed at the Iowa State Fair in a kids' singing/dancing troupe.
17. I would LOVE to play Rizzo from Grease! at some point in my life.
18. I was a theater major in college, but then changed to criminal justice.
19. I *hate* spending money on myself...I always feel guilty.
20. I believe in angels and ghosts.
21. I have seen every episode of Roseanne at least once and watch the reruns nightly.
22. I care what people think of me, but lie and say I don't. (Me too, Julie)
23. I do not like children. No. Not even the least little bit. Yes, I know I have two of my own. I like those kids. hehe
24. I have had the same crush since I was 9 yrs old. My husband and I are actually friends with this guy now.
25. I love jewelry but own very little.
26. I nearly died in later pregnancy and child birth with my son. He nearly died as well.
27. I slept in my mother's bed with her until I was 11 - I was afraid to sleep in my own room.
28. I never know when to say no to people and end up overextending myself as a result.
29. I'm more content sleeping all day and being up all night.
30. I detest socks...but even more so if they're the least little bit dirty, worn-through or wet.
31. I want to have more girlfriends who include me in "girl" stuff, but refuse to ask for them.
32. When I'm mad, I clean, reorganize or rearrange my house.
33. I still believe I'm invinceable and make poor health choices as a result.
34. I hate talking on the phone, but I love texting and IM'ing (I can type faster than I can talk)
35. I come from a very closely-knit family, but since my mother's death, I don't have much to do with most of them.
36. I never knew my biological father.
37. I know how to shoot a gun better than most men.
38. I can't watch a child wiggle a loose tooth. It makes me nauseous.
39. So does the sound of someone vomiting.
40. I am wicked smart when it comes to grammar, spelling and punctuation.
41. I still have my childhood diaries and read them frequently.
42. I am star-struck whenever I get near a certain friend of mine.
43. I was writing checks and buying cigarettes at the grocery store when I was 14. (My mother had cancer and we lived in a small town...the clerks knew it was with her approval and by her request.)
44. I have never cheated in school.
45. I try very hard not to be jealous, but there is one person I'm insanely jealous of because of her friendship with someone I've wanted to be friends with since high school.
46. I hate wearing watches.
47. I once was a huge part of my church's praise team, but never sung a solo in church. I did, however, play Khaleel the Worm from Veggie Tales in a Vacation Bible School production.
48. I am nicer than people think.
49. I honestly don't follow world or national news - it has never interested me.
50. I also couldn't really care less about politics.
51. I want to have my photographs published someday.
52. I didn't learn to swim until I was 13 and then taught preschoolers how to swim the following year when I worked at the pool.
53. I once dated a bartender for the free drinks and backstage passes he was able to get me to concerts at his bar.
54. I was a cheerleader in high school but gave it up so I could help counsel other teens who had lost parents through death or divorce. Not once have I regretted that decision.
55. I rarely wear my wedding ring, though it's my favorite piece of jewelry.
56. If I won the lottery, I would probably be broke again shortly thereafter because I love spending money on other people.
57. I feel embarrassed when someone gives me compliments or asks my advice because they think I know more than they do.
58. Every cell phone that's "died" has been from drowning of some sort (the cat dripped water on the first two and I dropped the third one in the pond at Glendale cemetery).
59. I was never in Girl Scouts and never went to summer camp, though I wanted to badly!
60. I have bought meals for homeless people...and once even their dog.
61. I have also given my two cents to a person pretending to be homeless.
62. I have a better relationship with my former mother-in-law than I ever did when I was married to her son.
63. I still keep in touch with the first boy I ever kissed.64. I am a strong-willed person to hide my insecurities.
65. I once slept for 24 hrs straight.
66. I haven't had my hair grown past my shoulders since I was 5.
67. I prefer baths to showers.
68. I have an American flag that was carried by my father in Vietnam.
69. I have always wanted to write a book, but feel I don't know enough about any one particular subject to write it well.
70. I have over 11 gigs of pictures on my hard-drive, over 6,000 physical pictures and at least a thousand negatives in my possession.
71. I've never seen Star Wars.
72. I can't watch Saturday Night Fever because of the bridge scene.
73. My favorite food in the entire world is soup. I have dozens of recipes, but my favorite, by far, is my mom's homemade tomato.
74. I don't like plain chocolate.
75. I hate riddles.
76. I love to peel sunburns.
77. I can pick up on almost any accent within five minutes of talking to someone (British, Southern, Minnesotan, Middle-Eastern, Chicagoan, East Coast, etc)
78. I have a closer relationship with my son than I do my daughter.
79. I can't sleep with a light on if I'm in bed for the night.
80. I have never won first place for anything in my life, but have come in second many times: an art contest in 3rd grade, a spelling bee in 7th grade, a lip sync contest in 9th grade, a national fashion design competition for doll clothes when I was 8.
81. I wasn't able to wear flipflops until I was 33.
82. I have a bottle of perfume that belonged to my mother...from 1985.
83. I hate barking dogs, screaming kids and loud cars - noise bothers me greatly.
84. I've never passed out, but I was given a roofie once on vacation in Philadelphia.
85. I once burnt so badly on a tanning bed that I had stripes like toast and smelled like burnt flesh for a week.
86. I was once given a pig for Christmas by my parents...and still have trouble eating pork products.
87. I've been wearing high heels since I was in 5th grade.
88. I wear fake toenails on my big toes because I lost most of mine to ingrown nails in high school.
89. I would love to be pregnant one more time, but only if I didn't have to raise the child myself.
90. I cured myself of arachnophobia by holding a tarantula at a petting zoo.
91. I dropped out of high school in 10th grade at the encouragement of my high school guidance counselors despite the fact that I've always been a good student. (Don't worry...I went back a month later.)
92. I have kept every video tape I ever had with New Kids on the Block on them...and still watch them from time to time.
93. I refuse to share my meatloaf recipe with anyone.
94. I've had glasses since I was 2 yrs old and would *LOVE* to get Lasix done.
95. I never snuck out of the house when I was a teenager.
96. I got drunk when I was 2½ at my brother's graduation party.
97. I feel like I've stepped into my mother's role in our family - organizing family events, being a memory keeper (pictures, family stories, etc.)...and while most of the time I'm glad to have that role, it is sometimes a burden to me.
98. I still remember the first nightmare I ever had.
99. I've never lived anywhere but Iowa...and probably never will. And I'm okay with that.
100. I am handier around the house than my husband is. (But he's better with the laundry!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Born to Hand-Jive, Baby

Yeah...umm..not quite.

My audition was today. 6pm.

I showed up about a quarter after five so I'd be close to the front of the list to audition and could hopefully get out of there earlier.

5:15 - I make my way upstairs and fill out the audition info sheet, mark down my experience (that was the easiest part. I have NONE!), list time conflicts (again, super easy - NONE!) and take my head shot. I am number 8. My lucky number!! Yay! Wooho....wait. 8's not my lucky number. SIX is. Shit.

5:30 - the lobby has begun to fill up with young girls and boys. Okay..not 5 or 6...but 18, 19 yr-old kids. I felt SO old and fat. Their parents should all be investigated by DHS - I dont think they're feeding their children! What the HELL have I gotten myself into? Oh..and they allll seem to know each other. I must figure out how to break into this social circle and use this camaraderie to my advantage.

5:45 - Tonia, my dear friend who has been kind enough to drive me to Des Moines learns that this audition that I thought might take an hour or two is now looming toward being a FOUR hour audition. We overhear that the choreographer isn't even scheduled to arrive until 8pm. Tonia groans inwardly, I know it...she's fighting a migraine as it is. Bless her heart, she decides to not leave me stranded. *kiss* She does, however, choose to retreat to the silence of the parking lot.

6:10 - we all enter the inner sanctum. The red velvet curtains are closed, the directors are sitting at their table in the back of the auditorium and the accompanist is at her assigned location on the stage. Smiling and encouraging is she.

6:15 - the first of 63 people begin to sing.

6:40ish - I garble my way through the first verse of "When you're good to mama" I project well, I think. I do fear that my legs knocking together distracted the directors. Not all bad. Maybe they'll see that I've got rhythm. Bonus. :)

7:10 - the only other tone-deaf person in the audition bumbles his way through "Mr Cellophane." Ironic that we both should choose a "Chicago" song to annihilate.

8:13 - Break. Yay. I can go call my husband and tell him how COMPLETELY out of my league I am and let him convince me to come home and skip the dance part. His voice is kind and encouraging. Bastard!

8:20 - I step back into the auditorium to see all these pretty, pretty princesses who were dolled up for their singing are now slouched out in knit capris, leggings and these nylon sock-things that only cover their toes. WTF? Can't their parents buy them full socks? Where are their shoes? Who's raising these children...wolves?! I refrain from tsking my tongue and instead "stretch" out my legs a bit.

8:30 - we're herded up on stage. All 63 of us. I'm short. I can't see Allison, the choreographer. I miss a step. Shit.

8:31 - I hear in the loudspeaker of my head - Fat and Clumsy - party of one! My table is open. Great.

8:32 - I trip my way through the first part of the lesson. Not bad - the chassé isn't bad, but I still can't get my knees to do that closed/open/closed/knee fold thing. I'm too old for this shit. This is *NOT* the hand jive, Allison!! Fortunately, there are about 15 other people on stage with me, so I can watch the Barbie in front of me. Whew.

8:53 - I fumble to learn a move where I spin, do a jump up with jazz hands, then crouch to the stage, stretch out my feet behind me like a push up, roll over and pop back up on my feet. Oh, NOW we're talking entertainment. I hit the stage and my wrists pop. At least something popped, cuz it sure wasn't me. Oh wait...was that a popping sound my knee made when it slammed into the stage? Maybe.

9:14 - "We'll have you come up on stage in numerical order in sets of 3 to audition. Listen for your number." Whoa. WTF....sets of THREE? What the hell was the last hour? Weren't they paying attention? Why are we doing this on such a big stage with such a small number of people? Awww crap.

9:26 - Me, some bubbly young guy named Andreas (part of that elite group of neglected children I mentioned earlier) and a Barbie with legs that go all the way to her neck head up on stage. Andreas now identifies himself as Satan by setting his feet firmly upstage...putting me in the front. I try to bargain with the Devil. He stands firm. You little shit. I will hunt you down.

9:27 - The music starts. I chassé, I shimmy, I windmill...and I panic. I know it showed on my face. I insert a quick hand-jive move to improv. I hear the choreographer giggle. I pick back up - step, giggle, turn, kick, mutter "crap" under my breath, dig, jump up, jazz hands. WHAM...fuck. Hard stage. Face first. Roll over (yes...this is supposed to be a graceful hop belly first to the floor) jump up. Handjive. Where the hell did I go wrong? I had the chassé and the handjive. Everything in between is a blur.

9:28 - Allison tells me she liked my little ad-lib. Great. She's amused.

9:41 - Repeat 9:27, except leave out the shimmy, kick and dig. I think you can leave out the jump up, too.

9:44 - I'm OUTTA here.

9:46 - I realize as I ease into the car just how much pain my body is in with all this popping and slamming. I burst into tears because I've just made a COMPLETE ass of myself in front of 63 people who know what the hell they're doing (and are able to recognize that I don't) and 4 directors who choose my fate...Rizzo or the third chorus girl from the left.

10:05 - I text the friends who encouraged me throughout the night via cell and tell them that I've completed my goal - I've auditioned for Grease! and won't be doing it again for quite some time.

I am now heading to bed with a muscle relaxer and a newfound contempt for the hand-jive.

Born to hand-jive, my ass.