Due to circumstances beyond our control--involving Russo's picture--there will only be two pictures in the caption contest: That belonging to Maegan, and that belonging to me. Sometime in the future we shall digitally capture Russo in a situation that involves the same hilarity-level as her erstwhile photo, but until then, if you want to come up with a clever caption(s) and win prizes which include a Challenging the Gnome bumper sticker, chocolate, and the grand prize of a handbook on handling gnomes, please go to Maegan's picture and/or mine and comment with words of brilliance. Or cuteness. Or niceness. After our raucous laughter has died away, we'll evaluate the captions, select winners, and get back to you. The contest is open for another week.
Here's a link to Maegan's photo. Here's a link to mine.
Now, a moment of silence for Russ and her picture, please. Also, a moment of good vibes her way, as she is undergoing some serious dental procedures next week and will be a very uncomfortable young Gnomeslayer for a while. Love ya, Russo, babes.
Before I go, I want to share some thoughts on good things coming to an end. I've had the great pleasure of performing in "High School Musical" for the past week, with my two daughters and a gaggle of really fabulous teenagers. Now first of all, before doing this show the idea of being in this show sort of made me want to peel my skin off. I mean, seriously.
But now that I've done it? Well, it's been charming, and delightful. The show is fluff, to be sure. But--and this is referring specifically to the stage version, which in my humble opinion is much better than the movie version--fluff done with love and friendship brings happiness and joy to the observer. And that's what we had here: silly, happy, wholesome joy and fun. The audience and the cast left each performance feeling lighter and brighter. And that, my dear gnomeslayers, is a very good thing indeed in this world.
The tragic part? It ends tonight. I hate it when good things come to an end: I hated to leave Ireland in May. Hated moving back to the States from Germany when I was a teenager after four years of living there. Mourned each of my own children's passages into more independent states. Wept when high school ended and my friends and I all scattered. Missed every family vacation we've taken with our kidlets long before they began to wind down. What to do? Endings are painful.
But you know? I've learned something with this show. Mostly by accident, and partly because I started learning it on my anniversary trip to the Emerald Isle with my husband. And that is this: When you are doing something you love--and even if you aren't--if you live in every single individual moment, not looking forward with concern about what is coming, not fretting about the past and its mistakes, not worrying about endings, not stressing about doing well or not doing well, then you experience whatever you are doing to your deepest dearest parts. And it never leaves you.
I learned this because Ireland was so new and such an anticipated trip--and who knew if I'd ever go back?--that I breathed in every moment of it as strongly as I could. And when I came home, I did not have that odd feeling that I hadn't really gone. I felt that trip to my bones. Still do. And I feel so comforted by it.
I also learned this because it's been a few years since I did a play and I am old now. I had a whip-cracking memory back in the day. Now? Scary. Major Swiss-cheese holes in the blessed thing. I was freaking out over memorizing the lines (especially as Ms. Darbus has the most unbelievably absurd lines in the play. She speaks modern english with a melodramatic Shakespearean flare), and was having a heck of a time with the choreography--something else I used to excel at.
So, in order to survive I hyper focused. And each night instead of thinking about the entire show and reviewing scenes in my head that came later, I just focused on the scene in front of me. What were my character's goals in that scene? What was her motivation? What did she fear above all? What drove her. Then on (and off) stage I embraced the other actors and everything that made up my character for all I was worth. And I did this out of desperation, so I wouldn't blow it and make life hard for my fellow castmates (as well as the audience).
What happened? A miracle. The same thing that happened with Ireland: Besides remembering my part, I have been experiencing this show fully. It has become a part of me. I adore Ms. Darbus (who'd'a thunk?) And above all, I love, love, love the wonderful kids who people this show with me and with whom it is my great pleasure to associate. I'll never forget them or this experience. And I know we'll remain friends, and hopefully do more shows together.
I am convinced. You want to live and love life to its fullest? Embrace it. Focus on what you are doing in each moment--not what's in the future, not what's in the past, not mistakes (real or perceived), not other peoples' failings. Just the moment. Live in it. Embrace it. Embrace the people with you. And love it.
And then everything and everyone will stay with you forever. What could be better than that?