Category Archives: Acting

Each Snowflake

The past four years of the bird’s life have been full of learning experiences.  Maybe that is part of being in your thirties.  It might just be life, no matter your age.  But the bird hasn’t been so in tune with it until now, until these years.  She is keenly aware that time passes whether or not you respect it.  That is motherhood, probably.

Watching your child grow forces you to acknowledge those four seasons going by over and over again.  The tiny lines appearing on your forehead and neck are a subtle reminder that you wont actually be ‘forever young’.

God chooses interesting moments to express his power.  The bird is not in control of all things.  The timing in this Universe isn’t up to any individual.  If the Parakeet could have programmed her life at this point – it might look a little different and a lot the same.  She loves her family.  She loves their urban life.  She loves their community of friends.  She loves working for herself and the varied routines of each day.  She would have had another child.  She’d be performing more. Maybe she’d take a few more fabulous vacations and decorate her house in a more stylish manner.  Some things people can change. Others they can’t. Or they shouldn’t.

Like her son, though, the Parakeet is growing up.  She is speaking her mind more each year, each month even.  She is asking for what she needs and saying no to things that don’t feed her.  She walked away from an obligation today and it felt great.  She is writing.  She is singing.  She is making plans.  She is appreciating small moments.  She’ll walk to school and pick up Little O today.  This way he can walk back in the fresh-fallen snow he’s been waiting for so long.  So long in his four-year-old world.  She’ll bring him snow pants and he’ll make a snow angel.  Her Florida-raised self will attempt to help him with a snowman.  They will be cold.  They will shiver.  They will laugh.  She will take pictures.  She will notice the moments.

Snow-flakes are important.  They mark the time as much as any clock. Maybe more so.  Lord, let the days be productive, but let no one miss the moments.

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EASTER 09!

The Parakeet loves Easter for so many reasons – and after you get past the Drama of Lenten services, the joyousness of trumpets and the beauty of Lilys – there are still little kids in Easter outfits.  Last year, when the Parakeet was going by the name Preg, she watched all the little babies and children in church with their pastels and sweater vests and tights and sashes. SO CUTE! Almost as cute as kids in winter coats (but that’s another post).
So, how lucky that GB sent Little O the cutest Easter Outfit? Yep, pretty lucky.
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Uncle Ry and Aunt Mere had an early flight on Sunday, so the Parakeet made her ham, etc on Saturday night. That turned out to be such a nice end to the visit, AND they all got to eat at the table and sip wine and conversate like adults because O was already asleep.  They gave O his Easter basket on Saturday night also so that everyone could witness his joy.  Really – he grabbed everything and put it in his mouth. Were you expecting anything else?  A few favorites – his new sippy cup, his yellow bunny, and the top.

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After they got him all riled up with new toys, they put him to bed.  Sunday morning, everyone made sure they looked nice and hustled to church with suitcases in the back of the car.  The service was super sweet and the church even had a string quartet.  They drove Mere and Ry to the airport right after, then the Russells came home for family nap.  Which was awesome.  The Parakeet got an extra Easter gift when the Stage Manager of her show told her she didn’t have to come in and watch that afternoon.
Hallelujah!

Without Television..

The Parakeet and the Huz entered into Lent without clear intention. They decided to abstain from TV before 8PM, even though they weren’t sure exactly how this would affect them.  The surprising result has been Dreaming.
Yes – Dreaming, Thinking, Scheming, Planning.
TV was robbing them of time to contemplate.  It’s not just that they are talking during dinner again.  It’s what they are talking about that has been fun. They have planned two trips for the summer.  They The Huz is working his buns off at the shop.  The Parakeet has re-committed to her business.  Sometimes 8 o’clock comes and they don’t even turn on the tv because they are in the middle of other projects.  To be fair, there are days they are watching the clock counting down the minutes or the Parakeet gets on the phone just to hear voices. But mostly, they are re-connecting as a family. Even Little O. The Parakeet found that during the day the TV was on mostly for noise.  Some of that has been substituted with podcasts or music, but also – she and O are going for walks.  She is playing with him instead of just making sure he doesn’t get hurt.  It’s nice, this change.  They are even talking about it becoming a “family rule”.  Maybe the children will watch tv only on the weekends.  The Huz thinks they may hate the parents if that one gets enforced.  ( again planning, dreaming…)  Well, first they’ll get to Easter, after that time will tell….

The Schwim

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There are occasional benefits to being starving artists.  Ok, to be fair, the Keet and Huz aren’t starving. They just don’t always know exactly where the next meal is coming from.  But anyway…
The Huz has been free-lancing as a carpenter since Little O was born.  He has been very fortunate.  His latest gig was with this company on this show.  One of the lead actors in this production has a considerable reputation. The Parakeet very much wanted to see his interpretation of this character.  She kind of just very much wanted to see him in general.
Anyway, they went to the Dress Rehearsal last Tuesday.  It was really really great. Those in Chicago, check it out.  They saw an equally great production of the same show last summer.  It was fun to be able to compare the two.  One thing can be said about Chicago, for sure, and that is that there is PLENTY of theater to see.  Whenever you like.

Year In Review

Well, 2008  has come to an end.  Before the Parakeet makes 1001 resolutions for the New Year, she thought it might be nice to reflect on the year gone by.  
You know she loves the lists and the self-improvement, so it’s no surprise that she might make resolutions, but let’s save that for another post.

2008 was a bit of a roller-coaster for the Russells, but what year isn’t?  We’re going to focus on the positives this time – some of their favorite memories – by the Calendar

They started the year with a miracle.  After dropping HCG levels and what had been termed a “threatened abortion”, on January 2nd – the Parakeet had an ultrasound that revealed a heartbeat! Little O was growing along with her stomach. 
In February, the Parakeet was part of a wonderful production at Timeline Theater called “Dolly West’s Kitchen”.  She worked with super people, got to play a really great part, and the show received a Jeff Nomination.  A very fun ‘final’ show before heading into the latter two trimesters of pregnancy.
In March, the Russells were lucky to have visitors from St. Louis – Uncle B, Sis-in-Law M, and Big W.  This was such a fun weekend – complete with friends from the past, snow, and lots and lots of food for Easter dinner.  They even decorated eggs to serve as their placecards.  The Huz and Keet paid special attention to their nephew that visit, knowing their own little one was on the way…
April began the winter that wouldn’t end, but to stay with the positive, the Parakeet had a visit from two very special friends she has known for nearly twenty years.  They ate and shopped their way through the weekend.  So fun!  The Huz took this weekend and went on a solitary, introspective camping trip to the Warren Dunes – also fun, just about opposite of the girls’ experience, though.
Then, May brought a trip to St. Louis to see Uncle B receive his Masters degree and cousin P’s confirmation.  The Parakeet christened the maternity bathing suit and they enjoyed quality family time.  The Huz carried the entire contents of their apartment into a new one downstairs.  They also got a sweet little garden started in the backyard.
June was still chilly in Chicago, so the Keet and Huz were excited to head on down to Florida for Uncle B’s ordination.  That week at the condo in Daytona Beach might be the highlight of the whole year.  Ten of us cracking each other up, cooking for each other, and getting to know each other as adults. 
July began the waiting, the swelling, the where-is-the-baby feeling.  But over the Holiday, the Keet’s mother came to Chicago and they got that nursery decorated.  Fireworks and Home Decorating. You can’t beat that.  The Huz also started a new hobby; tennis.  He had a great time gettting in shape with the racket.  In addition to all his biking, 2008 was full of exercise for the Huz.
August brought them Little O.  There’s not much more to add to that.  He is an amazing, hilarious, passionate baby.  They are blessed.
September (it was technically Aug 31st) was O’s baptism and a visit from the Russell’s.  They don’t make it to Chicago often – and it was the nieces’ first time, so that brought lots of fun amidst the sleep-deprived nights.
October was a bit of a new baby blur, but their trip to the polls felt quite historic.
November ended with the Keet’s birthday which they spent as a threesome. It felt like a real family day, walks to the thrift store, cuddling on the couch, and a few pots of coffee.  Such a cozy and comforting weekend.
December was Christmas!  Seeing Little O with Big W in their matching PJs on Christmas morning was priceless.  2008 was the year of Family in so many ways. 
They moved apartments, changed jobs, but their family was constant all year long. 
2009 looks a little uncertain at this point, but they are embracing the open-ness, the new-ness, the possibility.  You’re sure to share in all the ups and downs.  Thanks for reading.

Back in Biz

One of the more surprising overwhelming things about becoming a mother to the Parakeet is the sheer constancy of it all.  Being a Mother, it turns out, is a non-stop, 24 hr a day responsibility.  There is no break. Even as she crawls into bed, the Parakeet makes sure the monitor is on. She makes sure the back door is locked.  She checks to make sure she knows where the nursing pillow is and mentally guesstimates when she will be waking again. 

Before she was a Mom, the Parakeet was working three jobs, essentially.  The 24-hr ness of worrying about caring for her child left her wondering if she’d be able to insert all, if not any, of these jobs back into her life.
She works for the Options Traders – as we have discussed, which is going just fine. Occassionally she takes phone calls at home while Little O is fussy and has to type emails with just one hand (very frustrating for the girl who types 60+ WPM), but they are managing.

She was also acting.  She has secured a job understudying for next Spring that she is excited about, and has an audition for a winter show this weekend, so theater, too – is making its way back into her life.  While she doesn’t feel as connected to the theater community as she did a year ago this time, she is happy that things seem to be continuing – not all theaters/ directors have seen the baby as a big ” I don’t want to work” sign. Surely by winter, she will be ready to get out in the evenings for rehearsals.

Her third job is the business she owns with Arbonne.  It turns out the Parakeet is really enjoying this one.  She gets to talk to people at parties about products she really likes.  She calls friends and family and their friends and family and chats with them about who they can buy gifts for and how to get discounts. It is fitting in quite well with ‘baby-at-home’ life.  And maybe, most importantly, Arbonne is becoming lucrative.  The Parakeet is starting to see real results from her efforts.  This is extra rewarding and helpful to the family while the Huz is also piecing income together. (Anybody need something built?)  She is happy to contribute with something that is so fun to do! So, if you’d like to hear more about her business, hop on over to her website, which is linked on the right of the page. 

All of a sudden, seeing all of this in writing, the Parakeet feels a lot less guilty about the fact that the bathroom isn’t clean.  But she’d like to promise Brother B that it will be spic ‘n span by Wednesday.