Saturday, August 25, 2012

Eliot Had the Wrong "A" Month

August is such a month of change.  Every year . . . even after the point where you'd think it wouldn't be such a significant month anymore.  But somehow it shows up again every 334 days and at the very least some tiny little corner of life is turned upside-down.

This week was/is the six year anniversary of me moving to Florida and starting at Disney.  For a week I didn't document in any way at all I remember it incredibly well - I checked in on the 21st, program orientation on the 22nd, Traditions on the 23rd, On With the Show on the 24th, Honey training on the 25th, assessment on the 26th, working on the 27th, and finally a couple of days of on the 29th and 30th . . . but only through an act of God.  And an awesome intervention by a manager because my training buddy and I originally weren't scheduled for a day off until Friday and Saturday, and while ten straight days became something that we did regularly later on, there is no way that we would have made it that week.  Of course, somehow the schedule changed in one program but not the other and when I came back to work on Thursday I discovered I had two no call/no shows on my record.  Which led to a minor panic attack from visions of being fired before I even got my first paycheck, but thankfully that one happened to be a simple and quick fix.

And that's where it began - the two and a half years that would completely change my life.  Of course, it could be argued ones life is completely changed every time two and half years passes, but some are more noticeable than others, and these were definitely the most dramatic of my life thus far.  You may have noticed that I've been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately.  All year, really.  Turns out high school reunions will do that to you.  Well, that and some old Disney friends posting a bunch of old pictures and videos from the height of the old "glory days" when work meant a couple dozen 20-somethings showing up hungover (either from alcohol or from three hours of sleep for the entire week) and seeing just how much craziness we could get away with before the managers rolled their eyes and said "okay, that's enough."  We didn't generally push the boundaries beyond that - we needed the money to pay for the food we ate and souvenirs we bought spending all our free time at work (so to speak).

After spending this summer seeing things from that tiny stretch of time . . . being reminded of things I'd completely forgotten . . . it's been something else.  It's made me realize how much I miss those days.  I was so burned out by the end, but before that those were days never to be forgotten.  So much so that I actually logged back into my myspace account recently.  I was actually a little surprised that I still could, it's been at least four years since the last time I did.  But there were pictures on there that I lost when my hard drive got fried and two years worth of blogs chronicling the time from just before I graduated college to right around when Luke and I got engaged(slash about the time I stopped using myspace).  I hadn't thought about them in ages, but suddenly I had to have them again, so I spent something like three hours the other night copying the blogs into a word document.  And laughing in amazement and amusement over the detailed accounts of tiny little things, so I'd completely forgotten.  It's crazy to see such stark evidence of what a different person I am now than I was then.  It made a good contrast to the video from the reunion - I could identify with those little freshmen.  I could remember being one of them, and sometimes it feels so much like no time has passed . . . like I'm still 14 . . . like we all are.  But I read my blogs from just a few years ago, and while I remember everything now that I've read it, I see it in my head and it's almost like an out of body experience.  In some cases I even remember the entire outfit I was wearing but I watch it like - well, like Emily in Our Town Act III.  There's got to be some irony in that somewhere, right?

Anyway.  I read those blogs and I'm amazed, not just at how I've changed but at just who I was back then.  On the one hand, I was very aware of just who was reading then and why . . . and it's quite the long story that I shan't get into now.  I'm not ashamed of who I see in them, although some people probably would think I should be.  But if I hadn't been her then, I wouldn't be me now.  I don't know that I can say that I regret nothing, but any list of regrets would definitely be in just the single digits.  It's amazing - and I wasn't expecting it . . . but rediscovering who I was has left me more comfortable with who I am.  It hasn't put all the little issues and anxieties I have to rest, but it has reminded me what it is to feel comfortable in my own skin.

It's been an immensely cheering little trip down memory lane, but a little depressing too.  One of my old friends sums it up best here.  And while all of us who were part of that particular story couldn't read it without copious amounts of tears, the first part won't mean much of anything to anyone who wasn't there.  But I imagine the second half to be something anyone can understand.  Those few years . . . they were something else.  And there's no getting them back, but I'm not sure I even want to.  As we all know, you can't go home again.  :-)

I'm not sure what I might do with the blogs.  Part of me wants to post them all today and give everyone else a bit of a laugh too . . . another part wants them to never see the light of day again.  I probably will post a few here and there when the whim of nostalgia strikes.  If nothing else, the entertainment value is seriously through the roof, lol.  For now though, I think I'll just enjoy a renewed sense of security in myself.  Even if it is tinged with some sadness.

P. ost  S. cript
Now here's a couple of slightly trippy moments I would have loved to see in person!  Hooray for Push! :-)

Monday, August 20, 2012

When It Hits Home

Everybody knows the saying "you can't go home again."  And I would dare say that everyone knows it's true.  Turns out sometimes you have to try to realize just how thoroughly true it is.

For example - this is the high school I went to:

I've actually got a picture of about a dozen classmates standing on the roof next to those letters after graduation floating around somewhere.

This is the building in which I attended my ten year reunion Saturday:

And believe it or not, these are the only two pictures of the school I could find on google.  Weird.  Anyway.  Do you see any resemblance between these two buildings?  Because none of us did.  To put it bluntly (and mildly) that is not where we went to school.

But it was good to see everybody.  And, you know, meet everybody.  Because while of course there were those people who don't seem to have changed at all since graduation (and apparently I'm in that group . . . huh . . . ) there were also those who . . . have.  Like the guy who was rather trim to begin with becoming downright wiry and growing just enough facial hair that it took me 20 minutes to figure out who he was.  Or the guy who - how to phrase this delicately? - has decidedly not gotten scrawnier and who's identity I never would have guessed without seeing his name tag.  Which makes me feel really bad, because he recognized me the second I walked in.  On that note - it was great to see how many people recognized/remembered me.  Even though I was pretty heavily involved with drama and orchestra and color guard I still always felt so anonymous compared to, well, pretty much everyone else.  Clearly I was not the head cheerleader.  I wasn't even the head tech whom everyone knew and cheered at assemblies when something inevitably went wrong and they had to come out and fix it.  And I don't begrudge those people their titles, but it was a little surprising to discover that people not only knew my name then, but remember it now.

As far as the group I spent the most time with back in the day, we were represented by a rather small contingent of attendees.  Which was sad, and can I just say - all those excuses like "about to go into labor any day now?"  LAME!!! ;-)  A few of us had a small get together Friday night and we're thinking we'll have to try and do that every couple of years or something, because we have all more or less stayed in touch. And let me take this moment to say, what on earth did you people do before facebook?  I scarcely even had a chance to lose touch with anyone before we got back in touch!  It's kind of weird . . . I was all prepared for Saturday to be the first I'd heard from pretty much anyone in ten years - but not so much.  In fact, I think I'd recognize some of my old friends' kids if I bumped into them on the street.  Crazy.

But I'd have to say by far the biggest event of the night was just walking around the school.  It was so weird - there are small stretches that are so incredibly familiar . . . but they're surrounded by a building that looks like it was designed to be a set of some High School Musical type movie. (fun fact: HSM was the working title of the project and they were totally planning on replacing it when the movie aired.  Obviously that didn't happen.)

Anyway, a few pictures, because words cannot demonstrate how disturbingly trippy this tour was.  For those of you who did go to the same school I did . . . brace yourselves.

'Kay, so here we have the color guard my senior year. 

(slight tangent: the guard is HUGE now!!  And they have a winter guard!!!  A winter guard that goes to CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!  We would have KILLED to have a winter guard back in the day!  Granted, it would have been difficult seeing as most of the fall guard did drama the rest of the year, as did most of the band peeps who would have done winter guard . . . but we totally would have made it work.  Jeal. Lous.)

Now, for those of you who knew the band room, I just have to say the words "guard closet."  For the rest of you, imagine a large closet just to the right of this picture, wherein all the guard costumes and equipment are stored.  And where many a silly hijink was concocted.


We are standing more or less in front of the wall/door to said guard closet.  Now it's an art room full of pottery wheels.  The huge picture of back when the band was big/good enough to march in the Washington DC Fourth of July parade?  Gone.  The ceiling tiles that we had Jared Riggs absolutely convinced the word "gullible" was written if he could just squint hard enough?  Replaced.  Senior Row, place of amazing memories involving learning how to do (essentially) two-dimensional spins up against a wall and dancing the night away a week before graduation?  They paved paradise and extended the parking lot.  This might have been the most traumatizing part of the tour.  Good thing we got it over with first.

Moving on - 

My junior year locker is still there, yay!  Actually, my sophomore year locker is too, and only about 50 feet down from this one, but I don't remember which one it was.  This one was on the end though, so totally easy to remember. (Mr. Jones' room is right behind me for a little perspective.)  My senior year locker?  Long gone, and now that the cafeteria (I know, I know, it makes no sense to me either).  I don't much care about that one though, because it was literally at the opposite end of the building from all but 2 of my classes so I never used it.


The sidewalk squares that drama and color guard painted for homecoming week?  There's building there now.  They moved the doors that were there to the other side of the library.  Talk about another move that makes no sense.

On the plus side, the color guard is really starting to finally get some recognition.  Not only on the band trailer, you know how I know they have a huge winter guard that makes it to championships?  They're finally displaying trophies that are awarded to things other than sports!  In the trophy case!  Right by the gym!  There's one that's half volleyball and half guard, how crazy is that?  And there's one that has choir trophies in it!  Seriously, why wasn't this sort of thing happening while we were there?  (yeah . . . we'll not get in to that rant today . . . )

Anyway.  The small gym that was supposedly for wrestling but most everybody remembers as the social dance class gym?

Fond memories of being danced into that corner, let me tell you.

Anyway.  Now it's the band room.  And on the one hand, it's great that the band room is finally close to the auditorium (less fond memories of hauling equipment from one end of the school to the other in the snow, let me tell you!) on the other hand . . . that corner?

Not.  The.  Same.

And the auditorium parking lot is gone - now there's this rec center-club type thing in its place, and I'm not entirely sure what it's meant for, but if the presence of the drum major stand is any indication at least some of the marching band practices happen in there.  Which I'm sure is great to out of the elements and all, but the practice field is still right behind it, and the perfectly good marching band field is still there.  Except, you know, when the football team takes over to . . . I don't know . . . kick a ball around for a while . . . or something.  Needless to say, I went to those games only because I had to and didn't really pay attention to what was happening on the field when I wasn't on it.

Perhaps the most disappointing part was that we weren't able to go into the auditorium.  On the one hand it's not really a big deal, because apparently it hasn't been touched since we left.  Well, except for the horrible idea to move the booth from the ceiling to the floor right behind the house that happened right after we left.  Seriously, the original booth was such a haven.  And just a fun place to be - especially during the lamer assemblies.  And it's not like nobody goes up there anymore now, because dude, that's where the lights are.  You need to change gels or something, you still gotta go to the same place.  Seriously.  Dumbest. Move. Ever.

And since it hasn't changed, it's the one place left in the entire school where everything there is to see would be something familiar.  Where we could be literally surrounded by the Berver we knew and - believe it or not - loved (mostly).  My corner just offstage where I played Gwendolyn the Narrator in Twelve Dancing Princesses in ninth grade . . . the pit where I played in the orchestra for Bye, Bye Birdie in tenth . . . Nancy and I would have run up on stage and done spot on choreography from both Once on this Island and Joseph - even though we were crew rather than cast for both . . . the dressing room where I kept my amazing technicolor dream jeans senior year (I'll have to tell that story someday) . . . the hallway backstage where certain sophomore boys wandered about asking for someone to make them pretty for Joseph . . . the "forbidden zone" . . . the costume closet - full of costumes that probably hadn't been used in years . . .

Yeah, I'm really disappointed that we didn't get to go in.  But maybe it's best that it didn't happen.  That's a place that's not just haunted with the ghosts who's stories we'd tell when we were there late at night.  It also carries the ghosts of all our past selves.  Lacey running the spotlight for the middle school production of Fiddler because there weren't enough middle school techs and the teacher wanted a few high school kids in the booth to babysit.  Dani and Becca as the narrators in Joseph.  Clerie dancing in Island.  Steve bringing the audience to tears in the cancer benefit play that my classmates wrote themselves.  Like Emily in the third act of Our Town, I think I would have seen them all.  And even though we talked about how great it would be if that's what could actually happen at reunions, I think it would have been my undoing.  I've had a super nostalgic month as it is, on multiple levels.

Even just watching the video people put together was crazy.  There was some footage from the end of our freshman year.  I swear it was fake - those were tiny little eight-year-olds in that footage, not the 14-year-olds I'd just met and begun to make friends with.  If some of us look the same now as we did ten years ago, how is it possible that everyone looks so tiny in images from just a few years before that?

Long story short: it's been a fast ten years.

On the agenda for tomorrow: blogging about my 20 year reunion.  Because you know it's going to come up just that fast too.

P. ost  S. cript
I typed in Bear River on a whim at youtube - here's some video of all the new stuff.  It's kind of min blowing.  And check it out - not only does Berver have a winter guard again, they're hosting competitions again!  (and of course American Fork is still winning.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Morning Memories: Time to Confess (Or: Grovel, Grovel, *FLASH*)

So my high school reunion is next week.  Allegedly we graduated ten years ago . . . I say allegedly because if I didn't know better I'd say it was only three months ago.  Seriously.  Where does the time go?

Anyway.  Obviously such a milestone has had me remembering a lot of things from back in the day.  And then yesterday a couple of songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat popped up on itunes, and that totally threw me back because we did Joseph my senior year, and then that randomly had me remembering a brief, slightly cryptic reference to our production in a blog post a couple of years ago and never followed up on the story. (okay, it was really cryptic.  Like, only about three people would have known what it referred to then and even now if you go and read it first you won't get it.  So sue me.)

Anyway.  Since the events I'm about to describe will have taken place ELEVEN (holy crap!) years ago this November, I'm pretty sure it's finally safe to come forward.  Lol . . . ish.

So like I said, we did Joseph my senior year.  And being a slightly overachieving high schooler trying to do everything, I couldn't be in the production because fall is color guard season . . . and that just wouldn't work. :-(  But by the time tech rehearsals come around marching competitions are pretty much over so a bunch of us came over to be on the tech crew.  We spent the first rehearsal watching the cast learn the choreography for the last number (and learning it better than some of the cast, as evidenced by when we jumped up and did the whole song with them standing in the aisles and not missing a beat) and getting music stuck in our heads that wouldn't ever come out.  Seriously.  I can still sing those songs word for word even now.

Moving on.  Eventually we got our assignments, booth, stage crew, and the elite quintet that chose to call themselves the Glitter Girls.  I was one of the Glitter Girls.  In case you couldn't tell. :-)  One could argue that we were just the extra tech crew that had to be stuck somewhere and made to feel useful . . . but I'm pretty sure we had the most fun.

Anyway.  There were a couple of spots in the show where our drama teacher wanted sparkles falling on the cast.  And in order to make that happen the five of us - me, Ashli, my best friend Kim, and two girls Ashli's age - climbed up to the top of the auditorium where the pulleys for the curtains and lights are and spent the entire show hanging out and watching the show from the most unique spot in the house.  Except it wasn't technically in the house, since "the house" refers to where the audience sits . . . but you know what I mean.  And we had these big bags of sparkly confetti to scatter, like, twice during the show and the rest of the time we just sat and watched and talked all we wanted because, dude, we were something like 100 feet above the stage, who's going to hear us?

The show was a blast, as such things generally are, and we were careful to save some confetti for closing night curtain call.  We seriously underestimated just how much the phrase "a little goes a long way" applied to this confetti though.  The plan had been to start with just a little bit of glitter falling as curtain call started and when they got to the very last bow to just dump everything we had left.  Which is what we did.  And came back down to reports that confetti was so thick that people in the cast couldn't even see the audience through it all.  Now that, I seriously wish I could have seen from the audience.  (and this is the part where I lament the fact that youtube wasn't around ten years ago, because if it had you know there would be footage of that floating around online.)

But the best part of closing night (and the part that involves confession) actually has nothing to do with glitter.  Now this may come as a bit of a shock, but the story of Joseph involves a pretty significant number of male characters.  Like many drama programs, we did not have enough guys willing to get involved in drama, so while this Jacob did have 12 sons . . . he had something like 3 dozen daughters.  Not quite biblically accurate, but it made for a great chorus.  And some of Joseph's brothers also had to double as Potiphar, Pharaoh, and others.  (I wonder if anyone in the audience noticed that only ten brothers originally showed up to buy food from Joseph . . . the eleventh sneaked in as soon as he was changed out of his pharaoh costume, lol.)

Anyway.  So when we get to the number Who's the Thief there's quite the deliciously low note that the guys hit at the very end.  A note that only a couple of guys in our cast hit.  A note that made every girl in the cast and crew melt.  Every time. A note that caused the girls running the sound board to bump up those couple of guys' mikes just a little bit each night right then so we could all hear it a little better.  And on one of those not-closing nights as we Glitter Girls were up in the rafters talking about how the audience was sure to notice some really odd drips as we all melted in to puddles of bass-noted bliss it occurs to us - there are some rather good looking guys in this cast.  And they spend the entire prior number (Grovel, Grovel) on their knees and bowing down before Joseph.  Only, in the name of propriety - since this was a high school production and all - they're facing the audience as they bow down "to Joseph."  But of course, being so high above the stage we have quite the . . . ummmmmmmm . . . nice, shall we say, view of . . . ummmmmmmmm . . . all the action.

(translation: it was a great view of some cute guys and their cute butts.)

Now that part occurred to us the first time we were up there watching.  What occurred to us toward the end was . . . why keep this pleasant view all to ourselves?????

So on closing night, just as Grovel, Grovel was beginning, Kim handed me one of those one-time use cameras.  You see, due to a fortuitous stroke of luck, my spot was right above one the cutest (and lowest note hitting) guys, in perfect position to capture the perfect picture.

(and for those of you rolling your eyes and saying "SURE, it was LUCK!!" it really was.  We decided where we needed to be to cover the entire stage and picked our spots before we'd seen the show from this perspective.  Because you did not want to be moving around more than you had to up there - crazy high, and you had to step/climb over all the ropes and stuff from the curtain pulley system.  We got our glitter, got up, got to our spots, and pretty much stayed there until the show was over.  In order to avoid splatting.  We couldn't have fallen through the slats down to the stage, but even just tripping and face planting onto the metal slats we were walking on would NOT have been pleasant.)

ANYWAY.  So it's closing night and Kim hands me her camera.  And I aim it straight down . . . and snap a picture.

This is the part where I mention that none of us thought to consider how it's pretty much pitch black up where we were because the only light came from the stage lights well below us.  Or the fact that even though those lights were really bright, they weren't bright enough to prevent the camera from using its flash.  Or just how bright a flash is in almost-pitch-blackness.  Or how far away we really were from the stage.

Yeah.  The flash went off.  We were blinded.  I almost dropped the camera.  And we spent the next several minutes giggling, part out of amusement, part out of shock and panic.  And trying to shush each other.  And talking about how bad it would have been if I'd actually dropped the camera - how crazy would that have been for the audience, for a camera to randomly come falling from the sky and shatter on the stage? (assuming, of course, it did not hit the actor we'd been trying to take a picture of . . . I would still be feeling guilty if that had happened!!)

But we got through the rest of the show and blinded the cast with glitter and went back down - totally sure that everyone had seen the flash and we were going to be in soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much trouble.  Of course, the range of that cheap camera's flash was nowhere near the distance between where we were and where people could see anything, so no one had a clue what we'd gotten up to.  Which was rather a relief.  We asked a couple of techies who were in the booth, they said they saw nothing, and we never spoke of it again.  Except to each other.  The phrase "grovel, grovel, *FLASH*" is still an inside joke that Kim and I will exchange occasionally.  :-)

I wonder if that low-noted cute-butted boy is going to be there next week . . . because oh yeah, he was in my class. :-D

P. ost  S. cript
This is the part where I lament the lack of youtube ten years ago again.  Because there would totally be a video of our production here.  Oh well.  I've been watching the rhythmic gymnastics.  It is seriously AMAZING . . . and not that different from color guard.  I soooo could have been an Olympian, dangit!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

But They're Still So Nice to Have

So I got a phone call on Monday, and I have a job for this school year.  Yay!!  I don't k now my schedule yet, although it probably won't be any more hours than last year and I'm in fourth grade (so no fun Katie+Lacey shenanigans . . . boo!)  I'm still kind of surprised.  That I know already, I mean.  This is the earliest I've ever gotten the call - I didn't even have time to start worrying!

On the other hand, I have had time to think about/remember outside opinions of how I spend my summers.  And with a two-years-later perspective on things, I think it's safe to say that some things people say will always sting but it gets easier to brush away when they do come to mind for some reason.  Of course, while I still know everything I said last year is accurate . . . why is it the positive things are harder to remember on a regular basis?

I guess the part that really matters is that I don't have to spend the next two weeks wondering when the precise point is that I need to start panicking.  I'm not quite sure what I'll do with myself . . . beyond not dwelling on how nasty people can be to others.

Maybe I'll try out a pinterest cake to celebrate . . . :-)

P. ost  S. cript
Because you didn't have enough reasons to love James Earl Jones Darth Vader.