It’s OK, I’m in the band – June 21

It’s OK, I’m in the band – June 21

Six months ago, I challenged myself and performed in a rock and roll band on my bassoon. Not just on Smokey Robinson’s “Tears of a Clown,” but on the entire set list. I never thought in all of my conservatory training I’d find myself on this kind of stage with some awesome people.

The February show was a fundraiser for the summer program we’re doing in a couple of weeks. Conceived by Touchstone’s Artistic Director, JP Jordan, he wrote a post about the band’s February performance and a bit about the band’s origin story. I was not part of the original line up.

The show we are about to do in three weeks is all newly conceived music based around characters that are matched with each member of the band. The story follows a hero’s journey and includes muppets, stilt walkers, and an aerialist. It’s a mobile story that takes place in three separate locations on South Bethlehem’s Greenway linear park. Yes, I will need to stand and walk while playing the bassoon. And cue the Woody Allen movie reference.

Images taken from Jason Hedrington’s Facebook page; so he’s not pictures with his accordion of awesomeness
This is the spectacular cast.

Last night the band rehearsed with the actors who are voicing the dialogue and operating puppets. There’s is also a chorus of pirates and other characters. Oh, and we hope spectacular audience participation. It was the first time we all came together to run the script. We all left the “The Peace Train” room <- the name of the upstairs studio at Touchstone Theatre -> with such a high level of energy. In fact, when folks were dismissed, we hung out for a while. When people linger after rehearsal, it’s usually because you don’t want to leave that energy too quickly. It’s a great feeling.

Here’s a close-up of the puppets created by Yodi Vaden; an incredible Renaissance man from Allentown. Not only does he make these muppet-like creatures, he also makes ginormous puppets that actors need to walk on stilts to operate them. He’s also a sensitive poet and a mad awesome chef. Check out his Instagram feed for pictures of his work. It gives you some nice insight into the puppet making, and also how inventive he is in multiple art forms.

As I was driving home last night, I was thinking about the show; reviewing spots I need to woodshed a little more, mental notes of making time for more reed production since the weather will require multiple options in the reed case, and … Holy Moley! I’ve been made into a muppet! Pretty sure this is a career peak.

Barbara Volgelgesang and I make the wise Acolyte of the Oracle.

Jakopa’s Punch Processional is part of a collaboration in South Bethlehem between Touchstone, Zoellner Arts Center and ArtsQuest. The other venues have interesting shows. You can find out about ArtsQuest’s HERE and Zoellner’s HERE. The concept of a three day festival that celebrates community and circus arts comes from the brain of Deborah Sacarakis. I enjoyed working with her on numerous cirque programs when I was at Zoellner. It’s neat to be a part of this as a performer.

As you’re reading this and might want to jot down the details of the Jakopa’s Punch Processional. July 14 & 15, 2017 at 6:30pm (run time 60 minutes). We’ll be on the South Bethlehem Greenway, meet us at the Chinese Harmony Pavilion between Webster and Taylor Streets.

Oh, and by the way, both of these shows are FREE. (Zoellner and ArtsQuest shows are ticketed)

It’s going to be a great weekend in Bethlehem because it’s also the time for the annual Historic Bethlehem Partnership’s Blueberry Festival. I also learned that there will be an opening of an art walk in the South Bethlehem Arts District that weekend. And this is supposed to be a quieter time of July as we commence to “restin’ before [Musik]festin’.” Ha!

Face it. I live in a community with lots of people who love to create and make special moments. Gosh, I love this town.

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The Power of the Snooze – June 20

When I was a little girl, I hated naps. I felt like I was going to miss something important. I remember vividly being told to lay down on the living room couch. It was a fancy couch with a pattern of raised red fabric on a white background. The red part was a really short velvet-like texture. If I fell asleep without a pillow, the patterns would transfer to my face.

I remember one nap time of resistance in which I laid down and kept calling to my mother in the nearby kitchen,
“Can I wake up now?”
“Can I wake up NOW?”
“How about now? Can I wake up, now?”
(poor Mom)

I was a stupid college student for so many years, putting practice, studying, performing, bartending, socializing, and anything else ahead of sleep. I’d crash on the weekend, but somehow made it through the week with 3-4 hours of sleep each night. I’m sure sleep deprivation made for many stupid decisions.

When I became a mom, sleep deprivation was a whole new (pardon the irony) awakening. I’ve heard the phrase “bone tired” but didn’t feel it until the twinning. Somehow, the aliens ended up cooperating with a sleep routine. Or maybe I got good at sleeping when they did. However it happened, we are all still alive today.

Now that I’m in my 50s, I still have to consciously observe my sleep habits. As much as I try to build a regular routine around work at the office and my own projects, I have to be more mindful of how I pace myself for late night rehearsals.

For the past year, I consoled my grief with lots of sleep. Too much sleep. I was lost and frustrated by my situation. Now that I’m not in the pits of that sadness, I’ve got stuff I want to do. The goal is to get out of bed at 5:30am so I can do three important mind/body health things before I go into work by 7:30am. I want to be home by 2pm to give myself the rest of the afternoon to work on my own projects, or finish up Bel Canto deadlines. Family dinner is important to us and afterward, I want to spend time with my family or friends, or enjoy a good book, watch a movie, write, or listen deeply to music.

When I was at Lehigh, in order to meet all the work of the admin position, teaching, M.Ed., and community engagement, I would regularly go back to campus in the evening or back to South Bethlehem on the weekends. Eleven years of this pace. Now I choose to do go out at night because I want to be there – not because I feel like I have to be there for institutional representation. It’s. So. Liberating!

But what to do about getting enough sleep on the days I have a late night rehearsal? Sleep a little later the morning of the late night rehearsal. Adjust the day. And try to recover the next day with lots of deep breaths.

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What I’m Creating – June 14

What I’m Creating – June 14

I now have more time in the next six days than I would have had if I went to the reunion in Wisconsin. To fight the creeping feelings of regret, I’m going to make this weekend as purposeful as possible.

I’m going to take some time for self-care of the motherly kind. I’ll hack away at some built up reading and getting to inbox zero. And I’m going to investigate a few projects…

I’ve recently discovered an eBook that reviews task management techniques. It’s seems a good time to review how I can plan for work projects and my own business goals. I also found (yet) another planner that looks really interesting. It’s a combination of features I liked from three separate systems, and flexibility to move pages around. Of course I can’t recall the dang planner company, or the title of the eBook. I printed them out and left them in a bag that is not sitting right next to me. Otherwise, I’d share them.

Maybe. If I’m feeling generous, I’ll come back to the post and update this paragraph. Maybe. I’m on vacation, you know.

What I have time for now will not be wasted binge watching TV. Perhaps I’ll use this time to establish a morning routine that sticks. I figured since I’m nearly done with the 100 posts in 100 days challenge, I actually might stick to a new habit.

All of the “maximize productivity” articles I find suggest that you do that important thing in the morning before breakfast. But what if I want to exercise, do yoga, meditate, free write, practice bassoon, and walk the dog? That’s at least three hours of stuff. And if I want to do that before daily mass? I love Jesus, but I don’t think starting my day at 3:30am will set me up for success.

Yet, this is what is in my head every morning. If I miss any of these activities, I’m starting the day a failure. But if I get to mass – it’s amazing how much that makes me feel good about how I started the day. I just wish I could feel satisfied with the options of what I could do, instead of kicking myself for what I should do. And who’s standards are these anyway???

I guess this means that I’m either on my way to creating a routine, or creating a monster.

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What I’m Researching / Creating – May 21

After last week’s achievement of biking to work every day of national Bike to Work Week, I have built enough confidence and satisfaction to keep the momentum going. The week of participation also made me aware of what motivates me to keep biking to work, and what doesn’t.

There are a few barriers that keep me from going completely without a car: kid shuttling, groceries, weather, night time, and wardrobe.

Kid shuttling… School will be out in a couple of weeks. While I’ll still be shuttling them to lessons, many car miles will be removed from my carbon footprint. This summer they will learn that I won’t be the able to drive them to places they can ride or walk themselves. Let’s see how that motivates them to get on their own bikes.

Grocery shopping… Until I find a balance between meal planning, CSA pick up, meat and dairy products that need a cool ride, and the routes that won’t challenge my sense of safety, I’ll be using the car for hunting and gathering food for my clan. I’ll try the CSA pickup on my bike when that gets started. But the rest… I just don’t feel confident enough. And that’s OK.

Weather… some days I’m just going to suck it up and ride in the rain. I’ll keep a towel at the office. Unless it’s a downpour. Maybe then I’ll work from home. Or walk. Or bus. I don’t want to feel like a wimp because water is falling from the sky.

Night time…. I love living in Bethlehem. I feel safe biding my bike in daylight. But I’ve seen crazy drivers on the streets when the sun goes down. There aren’t enough lights, reflectors, or whistles to remind drivers to watch out for cyclists after dark. Kudos to the cyclists that are out there with all the right markings. It’s just not for me. Or my kids.

And finally, wardrobe… As flexible as the dress code at my office is, I still like a little style in my day. I’m no fashionista. And as much as I’d love a revenge body, at 52 years old I’m much happier with a “not for me” attitude, which is totally reflected in the clothes I wear. Call me old fashioned, but 24/7 active wear doesn’t suit my preferences toward casual work attire. I took two rides to work in a dress. Shoes were sensible walkers, or colorful Chucks. On the hotter days, I rode into work prepared for sweat, and came home to shower and change before evening performances.

Purchased from Yes, this is a bike helmet.

I started a little research on women’s clothing for biking to work; NOT a bike workout or other active wear. (Thanks, Pinterest.)  I just bought a new bike helmet that will help motivate me for more rides. I have a feeling this summer project / adventure could turn into a category on this blog. Maybe I might venture some guest blogging for others, if they are interested.

Do you think other people would be interested in what a 50-something hefty woman who bikes to work wears?

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What I’m Creating -May 17

Many families with kids while working through the summer months have to figure out child care, or other summer programs. Since ours were in kindergarten, they’ve experienced numerous camps, and had many, many babysitters.

As they leave middle school, their summer will be much their own to construct their days. They’ll do one camp, the Teen Ensemble at Touchstone Theatre. The rest of the summer will have drum lessons, harp lessons, maybe a few violin or cello lessons, a ballet class, and a chore chart. Oh, that chore chart will be the thing that will cause a few battles. They are old enough to contribute to the household.

I’m hoping they’ll challenge me with a reading goal. Maybe a weekly exercise goal. Might we do regular trips to the municipal pool? Might they find other friends in similar non-overly structured summers? How much freedom are we talking about?

I’m trying to give them a summer to figure out how to use their time toward their goals. I hope they get bored enough to find motivation. We’ll see what happens by July 4th holiday.

I’m not really creating their summer schedule. I’m creating space so they can figure out what they really want to do if given the space to do it. Let the grand parenting experiment continue…

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What I’m Creating – May 10

Mid-way through the daily blogging challenge, it feels like the habit is nearly formed. There have been a couple of posts written after a long day, and no planned topics. But there hasn’t been a day where I’ve not written; even if the publishing time code says “next day.”

It feels good to stick to the goal, even if I’m not always happy with the writing. I’m also following stats of posts, just to observe. There will be a time when those stats will be used more for growth analysis. But that is not now. I’m only in this for the writing challenge.

If readers are thinking about forming a habit for good, no time like now to start.

And now that the half way point is reached, it’s time to layer a new challenge to the daily routine. In the past, I’ve felt better when I regularly exercise. But something happens, and discipline disappears. It’s the same lesson each time I get back on track; hard to start, great after two sustained weeks.

I started walking to work. It’s about 2.3 miles between my home and office. The walk was pleasant. I wore a wide brimmed hat to keep the sun off my face. I had an audiobook to keep me entertained, and found some quiet alleys to cut through the city blocks. The walk home was another story. It wasn’t hot, but I peeled off layers as I went. The end of the walk was slower, and my knees started to feel it. I even bonked a bit when I got home. I know tomorrow will be harder on the knees, so I’ll bike to work instead. Buddy will appreciate the walk when I come home tomorrow ready for his needs instead of passing out on the couch. The plan is to walk to work again Friday. And see how many more times I can get the 5 miles into each day.

Wrapping exercise into the day is key for me. I’m not a fan of extra showers. I prefer functional exercise; walking or biking to work, gardening, housework, dancing. Warmer days are on the way. I have the opportunity to work in exercise with enough consecutive days to make it a habit over the next three months.

I know I have the discipline when I focus on what I want most, rather than what I want in the moment.

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What I’m Creating – May 2

In addition to the daily Irish blessings I post on Facebook, I’ve been making a personal documentary of 2017. I know it sounds huge, but it’s really just one second a day.

I started doing this because one very thoughtful man wanted to share his experience in deciding to make a daily video diary.

In 2011, a TEDtalk by Cesar Kuriyama inspired him to develop an app called “One Second Every Day.” Take a listen to what motivated him to start his journey.

The first time I heard about this app, a friend posted her video at the end of 2016 on Facebook. She told me about the app of the same name, “1 Second Everyday” It’s $4.99, but I’m telling you – totally worth it. All you have to do is remember to record something every day. It even takes still images, and does all the editing. Repeat – it does ALL of the editing.

You might end up playing around with the perfect second of what you’ve recorded for the day, but the developers have already built in a scrubber tool. The biggest challenge for me, after remembering to record something every day, is sometimes choosing what to include.

I got started on January 1st. Here’s my life in 2017 to date.

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