Sunday, April 19, 2015

An afterglow to remember

Some of you may remember my angst over whether the Young Actors Theatre board would allow me into their hallowed midst after a particularly ungraceful entrance to a play last year. Whether it was desperation or true forgiveness, I'll never know, but they let me in and this weekend, I spent a few hours at a board retreat and was just blown away by a couple of interactions with some of the current crop of students. 

How blown away? So blown away that I laughed off news of that idiotic Texas woman, who both shares my first name and profession, and believes the only women in the White House should be cookin' up or serving dinner. More on that later. The YAT kids are far more important. 

I am most familiar with YAT's Playground productions, which interpret traditional works in ways that would never occur to me. I have known of the Court productions, which are focused on teen issues and which almost exclusively have a teen audience.

I'm not an educational expert, but every school in America should be calling up YAT to find out how their kids can see a Court production. Hell. Everyone should see this stuff. 

When a bunch of teenagers can make a group of adults hang on their every word and gesture (and ask for more) well, it's just awesome. It's enough to make you think you might still have time to make a difference in this world. Enough to convince you that these kids actually will. 

The Court productions focus on real-world teen issues like bullying and the effects of overdosing on social media. The one we saw focused on violence in Indy and the world in general. One line -- "There's just so much violence it made it hard to focus the show" -- was as profound as it was telling. 

The production is the story of a young man full of promise who is fatally shot and ponders what led to his death and could it have been prevented. It was amazingly well done. My friend Amy came to Ali's last Playground production, which was a twist on Beauty and the Beast. It WAS quite a twist and at the end, she looked at me and confessed, "I don't really get it." 

 he'd get the Court. Seriously. Check it out and then beg your school leaders to find a way to get a class trip to downtown Indy

I was actually surrounded by youth all weekend. I stood in for Grandpa at the CKS Grandparents Day on Friday. It started with a mass that include K, 4th and 8th grade. I knew I had to start off in church but I was curious about what the day would bring. 

I asked Ali, who'd paid zero attention and had little info for me. "Just go to the school and follow the old people," she suggested. 

That's pretty much what I did. I was lucky enough to walk in with another non-Catholic who'd driven in from Madison, IN. I'm always amazed at the lengths to which some grandparents go for their grandkids. I knew when I moved away from home that my parents wouldn't travel to see me, but I never factored in how that would affect Ali. 

My new friend from Madison may have adopted me. She's going to help me get over my 20-year grudge match against the town, which I admit is totally unfair and totally the Captain's fault. Speaking of idiotic behavior: Cheryl Rios. 

She's the Texan and alleged PR pro who says God doesn't want a woman in the White House and "...the woman should cook the meal for the man, like I believe in staying home when you have your child." 

Normally, comments like that would have set me off into the ether like a rocket. But I learned of it as I was basking in the afterglow of those YAT kids and probably a little bit left over from my trip to church and Grandparents Day at Christ the King. 

Ali doesn't remember my parents and with Gary in Maine, we've never paid a lot of attention to Grandparent's Day events at school. I don't know if it's that she's always just spent glorious time with him in the weeks just prior to the event or what, but it's never been an event we noted. This year, the school reached out specifically, asking for a representative. Maybe this is the first year they've focused on her grade... 

In any event, I suffered through church. She and I snuck down to the art room to see her latest project then joined in the gym where we feasted on bagels and donut holes before going to the classroom portion. Part of that had the kids intro'ing their guest and each sharing something they love about each other. One granny complained that her granddaughter needed to be less shy before allowing she was a sweet girl. Another told of her grandson turning to her for help with spelling and asking, "Grandma, did you even GO to school?" (English is not her first language.) It was really a sweet exercise.

I had to go first and was totally unprepared but said I loved that Alison is always true to herself. Middle school has been a challenge for Alison. Despite that,she's not pushed down her real personality in a bid to just fit in. It's been hard for her at times, and I can't say how proud I am of her for being herself through it all. And I can say how grateful I am that YAT has helped her realize that she's a wonderful, valuable person whether the sassy CKS girls see it or not. I wish I'd said so much more about how proud I am of the things she's accomplished and how I can't wait to see what she does next. 

Her response? She loves that I'm always there to support her. 

Now, my failings as a parent are legion. But I'll forgive myself if she truly never questions my love or support. Not in an enabling, failure-to-launch kind of way, mind you. 

We HAVE had the discussion (more than once) that while I think the chances are slim that she'll become a serial killer, if she DOES turn criminal, I WILL rat her out. I'll still love her. I'll probably even visit her in prison. 

I'm pretty sure it won't come to that. Unless, of course, I have to follow the dictates of that silly Cheryl Rios. Then Jeff and Ali will be visiting ME in prison.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

These are not trick questions

Why do adult males wear baggy cargo shorts that for particularly short men seem droop to their ankles?

How is it that the moss in my yard expanded exponentially while under cover of the longest, coldest,ickiest winter in history?

How can I remember what underwear I was wearing nearly 20 years ago when I inadvertently informed a then-single Jeff Reed that the summer fling I thought we were having had overtaken me but I can't remember the names of my neighbors and coworkers if I run into them in places other than where I normally deal with them?

As  you may have surmised, I'm not in a very focused frame of mind. Don't know why, exactly. Spring has sprung and I worked in the yard today and we even soaked up some Indiana sun at Victory Field where the Indianapolis Indians emerged victorious. 

I skipped writing last week because I think I tired myself out traveling down to Jasonville -- Coalmont really -- to see the family for Easter. It was fun. Got to see Kaitlin for the first time since she was in the hospital. It was great to see her on the road to recovery. Thanks for all the prayers and good vibes. 

Our Easters don't involve pastel dresses anymore -- more like bare feet and outdoor silliness. But there are piles of food and good company. 

We had Alex Ogden over Saturday. He and Ali have been friends since they were 2. Not much has changed there, either.

Alex was supposed to be making soda with Ali's Soda Stream and the word, "maximum" came up in the instructions.

Alex started muttering "Maximum.Maximum"  Ali exclaimed and said, "Don't say that!"


"It's a sex magazine. For old people."

"Gross," they said in unison.

That wasn't the high point of my weekend. But to tell you that, I'd have to tell you why I was remembering my underwear collection. And I'm just not that kind of girl.