Friday, July 29, 2011

And I Think to Myself....

I see trees of green
Red roses, too.  I watch them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue
And clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself, What a wonderful world.
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by.
I see friends shaking hands,
Saying, How do you do?
They're really saying, 'I love you'!
I hear babies cry
I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's No Trouble

There is an old movie that has become a classic for many.  It features action, romance, humor, tenderness, and just plain old good storytelling.  The lines are clever, memorable, and most importantly, quotable! Many people know whole sections by heart and are quick to recite them if prompted.

One of my favorite parts is the poignant running theme of love expressed by the simple words:  "As you wish".  This lovely phrase becomes synonymous with the often overused words, "I love you". 

This past week I have discovered another phrase that carries just as much affection, just as much devotion, and just as much love as either of these.  It is the humble, unpretentious "It's no trouble".

Frequently when these words are spoken, it is indeed "some" trouble, some inconvenience, some interference with normal circumstance.  But it is the desire to downplay that inconvenience that makes the subtle statement of love. 

May we turn you out of your bed for the night, and make you sleep on an air mattress? 

"It's no trouble."

May we inconvenience you to get up at 4:00 in the morning to drive us to the airport?

"It's no trouble."

May I rest my old bones while you chase a 2-year-old around the house in order to wear her out for bedtime?

"It's no trouble."

These are only a few examples of the way my family serves me.  And it doesn't stop at family.  I have valued friends that are quick to offer help and kindness and comfort when I am in need.  And it is extended with immeasurable love and those simple words that mask the bother or inopportune timing.

It's no trouble.  As you wish.

I love you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting Cold Feet

I have planned for it.  I have adjusted my schedule to make it fit.  I have "tried" to diet for it (that was a joke).  I went shopping for it.

And now if I am honest with myself, the closer it gets the more nervous and scared I am to go.

30 years.  That's how long it has been since I graduated from high school.  And a class reunion is called for, right?  I have only been able to attend the 10th and the 20th, so another decade has passed and it is time to make my appearance again.

I suspect I may not be the only one who barely resembles their old self, by becoming a VERY old self.  I don't really care about that, but it does make me wonder if anyone will recognize me.  With our extra pounds and extra wrinkles, will we also have gained some extra maturity and wisdom and tolerance and kindness? 

I know that as a transplanted "new girl" my sophomore year, I was somewhat of an anomaly.  The rest of the class had known each other since kindergarten, and many of them have spent the last 30 years raising their families together and sharing their lives.  Not me.  After graduation, my family moved out of state and were "never heard from again".

So, why am I going?  What am I trying to prove, or trying to gain, or trying to......?

I have kept some contact with a couple of dear friends, who seemed to want to hold onto me and our friendship.  That has meant more to me than they could possibly know.  So can't I just tell them that here?  on my blog?  Can't I just stop by their homes and visit them when I am in their area?  Why must I use a class reunion as my means of seeing them?  Why must I expose myself to all the rest who probably wouldn't even notice if I was there or not?

Ah, what to do?  How easy it would be to come up with some excuse and back out.  Something like this shouldn't take all the courage I can muster.  And yet it does.  And it will. 

The same shyness that made me appear aloof years ago in school is still in my makeup.  When I am comfortable with people that shyness dissipates.   In many ways I am still the insecure new girl just hoping that someone will come along that wants to be my friend.

Oh, the inward demons that we battle. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Making Anything Beautiful

Some people have the magic touch. I don't know how much of it has to do with their raw material, but in the way they prepare and present, anything can become a work of art. This past weekend at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, this became apparent with the wares on display. Each individual grower or producer or artisan had fashioned exhibits that were stunning in their simplicity. And I wasn't the only one that was snapping pictures of nature at its finest.
The more I see of life and the more experiences I have under my belt, the more I am reminded that we all possess our own unique skills and talents. As I moved through the crowds, seeking out photo opportunities, I knew that others were seeing things that I wasn't. I was wishing I had the "Artist's Eye" that is so evident in photographers' work. But I can't pretend that I do. I am such a literal person; I see the world as it is, straight-up.

We are all imbued with creativity, and have creative outlets. My hobbies may not be the same as your hobbies, but therein lies the challenge of discovery. While I may admire the talents of others, I must uncover, embrace and explore my own.  I am reminded of the brilliant address by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on the power to create.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Every Moment: RED LETTER!

How many times do we let our expectations run too high?  We imagine something as too amazing to be real, then have to reconcile reality with imagination.

Our weekend in Seattle actually exceeded my expections, including the World Premiere of Disney's new musical, Aladdin.

As we sat in our seats, awaiting the overture, I don't know when I had anticipated a show more.  I had been humming the familiar tunes in my head all day.  I had tried to fathom how they would deal with various parts that were critical to the storyline.  Without the benefit of animation or blue screens, what would they do?  These were real people on a real stage, within certain, very real parameters.

It was magical.  It was breathtaking and mesmerizing.  It was as much fun on stage as any show I've ever seen.  In addition to all the tried and true favorites, the new songs were every bit as compelling.  I had been apprehensive; could these new songs be just as endearing as the old ones?  With the exception of one, they were all just as hummable, just as engaging, just as memorable as the originals.

The casting was superb.  It was delightful to read in the program some of the comments from the cast.  Courtney Reed, playing Jasmine, "is soooooo excited to be playing her favorite Disney princess!!!"  She thanked her parents "for letting her watch Aladdin non-stop as a child."  James Monroe Iglehart felt "so blessed to be living out a childhood dream in playing the role" of Genie.

I don't want to give any spoilers so I won't expound on how they dealt with the challenges, but really, it only took just a little suspending of one's belief to be transported off to that magical place, engaged by engaging characters, and spellbound by beautiful music. 

Before the show, the director of the 5th Avenue Theatre, promised us that one future day as we saw the incredible success of this show, we would be able to boast that we were there in its infancy, helping as the audience, to mold it, to shape it, to aid in its development, as we laughed, as we oohed and aahed, as we cheered.  Our reactions were being taken very seriously.

I bought an Aladdin sweatshirt during intermission.  I just couldn't resist the idea of being one of the very first to own one.

Our hotel was a short walk away from the theatre. 

Our pre-show dinner was just as memorable as the show itself, including the "best steak" Brian has ever had, and a banana bread pudding for dessert that even outshone the key lime pie.

Our self-guided tour of Seattle the following morning was beautiful.

Every moment will be a special memory. Every moment was, indeed, Red Letter!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Getting ONE JUMP AHEAD of Broadway!

Have you ever had the chance to see something brand new?  I mean BRAND New?  Tonight Brian and I are getting that opportunity. 

Before shows are brought to the Great White Way of Broadway, they have a stage debut at another venue to "work out the kinks" and find what needs tweaking.  With Disney's track record of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aida, and the recent Mary Poppins, I decided it was a good bet that their new Aladdin would be a winner too.  So when I received an email (as a Disney superfan), I only hesitated a moment before clicking the link to buy Brian the greatest anniversary gift ever.

It is showing tonight in Seattle at the 5th Avenue Theatre, and we have tickets!  I have always loved the story, the music, and the characters from the animated movie, Aladdin.  I can only imagine what they will do with costumes and staging for this one.  They seem to keep outdoing themselves.

In the midst of an already busy summer, I know that a quiet weekend at home may sound nice, but I think a quick trip to Seattle for just the two of us will also be a treat.  It is just a small way for me to thank Brian for having "shown me the world". ;-)

Friday, July 1, 2011

I Used to Tell Stories With Pictures

I was a scrapbooker.  I would dream in pictures.  I focussed on taking and editing pictures that could tell a story worth a thousand words.  And I put them together in combinations that transformed them into more than the sum of their parts.  A well-chosen title would accompany these photos to fill in any gaps, physical or metaphysical .  Song lyrics or a pithy quote frequently supplemented the story, but were only secondary to the pictures speaking for themselves.

I always knew that my scrapbook layouts lacked what all the "professionals" considered absolutely critical:  Journaling.  I was failing to accompany the photos with the story "in my own words".

Well, poppycock.  I knew that my pages spoke volumes.  Carefully chosen embellishments appeared to be placed effortlessly, belying the true deliberateness of their inclusion.  The layers of details often told more than the face-value story; the emotional essences were undeniable.

I loved what I was creating.  I was cutting and pasting myself into those treasured books.

And then I started blogging.

I began approaching family history from the completely opposite direction. 

Now words became the paints on my palette.  The stories were now told in the traditional way, with an occasional photo included to lead the reader into the written word.

I am conflicted.

I feel pulled from both directions.

Is there room in my life for both mediums?  When I look at the amazing collection of photos I am accruing from an eventful summer, my old self feels compelled to return to the days of photo-stories.  And yet, I love the challenge of discovering the hidden stories and life lessons that blogging encourages.

Perhaps the new challenge lies in utilizing both skill sets.  Can they combine to be as powerful, or do they cancel each other out?  Muddy the water?  Over-stimulate? 

Progression is what drives life.  When we fall into predictable patterns we fail to grow.  Sometimes our challenges motivate and require a shift in paradigm; sometimes it comes as a result of having squeezed everything out of the old one and needing a new bucket to dip into.

One thing I know about myself is that I am not content with the status quo.  I must be moving forward or my mind, my creativity, my passion become stale, lackluster, and tiresome.

The only certainty is that change comes. 

Aren't you curious to see which direction Ardith's Quest will take next?

I am too.