2016 to 2017

Intro

I didn’t want to be away too long, but when I haven’t been traveling lately and instead preoccupied up until November with: my regular full time job, a part time job and an online grad class, writing for fun has been pushed aside unintentionally. What ambition was left I began work on a post about women, for women on how awesome we are and all the double standards we face in our daily lives. Then… the election happened. That is all I have to say about that (ala Forrest Gump). During a time where tensions are still high and sides taken, I decided to wait but continue working on the post gradually. It should be for ALL women no matter what their stance; even when it will still be very challenging to not have it cross political lines but such is life.

When the election was all said and over with I decided that even when I may be unhappy with things going on in our country and the world, most of which is far out of my control, I wasn’t going to let things in my life that I CAN control bring me down or make me miserably unhappy. I was also at that time two weeks away from turning 30 and wanted to start this new decade of my life happy, thankful, in control and how wanted it to be.

Luckily where the election fell, I had just completed one grad class and waiting for another to begin. I looked at the things I had going on outside of my 40 hour a week job besides the course: a part time job and the upcoming Rotary Club Dancing With the Stars fundraiser I was in as one of the couples competing. Right away I decided to withdraw from the upcoming online term; instead of starting the class in November I’d wait to take it in February when it would fall within the range of spring semester of campus.

After what seemed like a long time over the previous months while debating the pros or cons over and over again: I knew it was time I quit my part time job. This has helped relieve so much by: allowing me to keep a sleep schedule, less stress by not worrying about hours or how others (mostly men) perceive me (will be touched on more in the article about women for women) or dealing with negativity from others. As I stated before there is enough negativity and toxic people in the world, no longer was my life going to be full of those things. I can’t believe how much more happier I am!

Even though I now had less money coming in, I feel I’m still doing ok in that area. There is so much to be involved in here in our small town of Forest City that keeping you busy can also help you save money. Since I no longer have had to work on Thursday nights: I could now return to being involved in a community organization I had started to the year before:

Forest City Young Professionals

I became involved with Forest City Young Professionals in early 2015 by attending monthly meetings and social functions until I took my part time job and was involved in community theater in early 2016. It has felt good to finally be involved with the group again. The organization is made up of people ranging from ages 22 to mid 30s who regular meet to network, socialize, volunteer and find ways to get involved in our community. We hold a monthly meeting, usually relaxed and informal but still making note of items discussed. These meetings have ranged from basics discussions about to group to having topics and speakers for the nights. Some of the topics have included:

Dinner for Dummies
City Hall and City Council Meetings
Departments of the City with the then Mayor of Forest City
Starting your Own Business
How to Invest
Loans
Credit, Finances and Buying a Home

These are just a few. At our most recent meeting we had a speaker from the Toastmasters of Mason City who gave a nice presentation on public speaking and other tips for organizations like ourselves. Young Professionals also do volunteer work: the Forest Theater, AFS Fun Night, Puckerbrush, etc.

Once a month we try and plan a social function that opens up to others in the community outside our organization: trivia night, pub crawls, concerts, hockey games and for this last month of December we had an Ugly Sweater Party at Ay Jalisco Mexican Restaurant: (Why I am wearing a Star Wars Christmas sweater above in my featured image)
  

  

If you notice our lovely green mugs in the photo: we had those on sale for $1.00 and with those you got $2.00 draw beers or $5.00 cocktails. Their bar menu for introduced that night for us: (I highly recommend their Blue Margarita!!!)

Brickstreet Theater

I was cast a small part in the Brickstreet Theater performance of Rumors last spring and wanted to continue on as an actor or work behind the scenes. I hadn’t planned on being involved with their December production of A Christmas Story because of everything else I had going on when the show was first organized and put together in September. I got a call the end of November from my friend, also the assistant director, asking if I wanted to help with the lights for the show. I wanted to say yes but was worried about this taking on too big of time commitment. We worked it out that I would share tech week with another light person and then we would take turns running lights for the shows running during the two weeks. After we worked the board, and I got comfortable and had so much fun! I most definitely could run the board by myself for tech week and all performances in the future! (Any Brickstreet people who may read this, please don’t not cast me because you are afraid you wont find a light person! haha I do like operating the light but I love acting and being on stage more! I’m first and foremost an actor! 🙂 I say this with love)

The show’s cast was made up of mostly kids and they did a marvelous job! The set was one of the best I’ve ever seen on that stage. I didn’t realize you could fit all those pieces on to it! I just hope more community will keep attending these shows and how enjoyable they are even if you don’t know anyone in the show! We have a lot of talent in this town and all the kids looked so stinkin cute!!!

Christmas and New Year

Besides Christmas, December was a good month and I mostly spend it in Forest City. Besides me not wanting to travel far with snow and sub zero wind chills there is so much to do and get involved with. We have some good local restaurants and drinking establishments that are unique and unlike anything we’ve had before. Despite critical remarks they are what this town has wanted and needs if we want business to remain local. I love eating the awesome food and margaritas as Ay Jalisco also having a place like Paddler’s Tap in town has been awesome. The change of pace of having a tap house with craft beer separate from your typical lounge or sports bar adds so much variety especially on main street which we have been trying to revive for years! Not saying there is nothing wrong with your neighborhood lounge or sports bars, those are great too but having variety and choices to pick from makes everyone want to stay here majority of the time and not feel like they have to leave town to have fun every weekend.

So now I am excited that 2017 has come and I can start fresh from the messy end of 2016. I’m not really much on New Year Resolutions but I feel the changes and schedule I started to make I can now try and implement on a clean slate that begins with the new year. I hope to continue on with writing and find a routine/schedule that works out the best. Also if I can attend and conferences or workshop that will help improve my writing or my format so I can just keep getting better at doing this. I have been working out regularly but hope to make more of the time I do and add more strength training. I still have stubborn weight that I haven’t been able to lose. I WILL pay off my student loans this year! I want to put more money in my savings. I want to book two more trips besides going to Cancun this month; one state side and one international. I want to hopefully obtain another position at my current place of employment. I want to be involved in more community theater productions but as an actor with a role that has more than two lines. I want to help out with causes and help spread awareness on issues that mean a lot to me: climate change, human rights, equality for women and all minorities, women’s issues, education, etc. Instead of just complaining about it I hope to actually help do something about it.

It’s a new year and a new decade for me, I’m ready for whatever this year and the rest of my 30s are going to bring.

That time I did a cameo role for community theater…

How I am so thankful for the people in our small town who came together last year and brought community theater to life. While I enjoyed my time being on a roller derby team, I am thankful for the hiatus I took from it because now I feel I’m back in my natural habitat.
I did a small cameo (I only call it cameo because my part had only two lines) in our production of Rumors. Cast members arrive as guests made up of four couples at a party with missing hosts and I am one of two cops that show up at the end:
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Special Police… HAHA!

As a newbie to Brickstreet, I expected a smaller role which would be good to get my feet wet again. However, I’m glad I wasn’t alone in thinking my part could have used more lines, split them more up evenly with my partner. When you look at the play’s author and how Rumors was written after he had been divorced three times, you see a trend among the women roles: one is a drunk, one is an idiot, one is weird, one is a bitch and my police woman role was pretty much non existent. Yeah: women issues that Neil Simon had….

When I wasn’t hanging out backstage in full costume throughout 97% of the play contemplating driving down to the bar still in full police uniform for a beer before I had to drive back, I learned how to set lights. I had to get over my fear of heights!:

This show ran for two weeks in a different town each week: three nights in Forest City one week and three nights in Garner the second. With only a week off following Rumors, auditions took place for the summer musical. With my luck, illness struck me on our week off leaving me congested, stuffed, tired and having a husky voice. My husband suggested I audition for a male role, haha. I tried to nurse myself back to health and I auditioned the last night even though I wasn’t back to full out performing. At least I had a voice to audition with. As I write this, I’m still not back to normal and there is still much nastiness in my throat. It will be a moment of truth if what I had to work with got me a role on Saturday…..

Nothing Compares 2 U

I will try but I know words will fail me in this post, there are just none…

The year 2016 has not been kind to a music enthusiast like me! I still can’t believe it as I write this. On Thursday April 21st, while at work I first thought it was a joke like one of those “Haha you clicked on the link and have been pranked” jokes. However when I saw it from a reliable news source I couldn’t deny it anymore. Prince, one of my all time musical influences/icons was dead. HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED?? He was ONLY 57, what happened? I NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO SEE HIM PERFORM LIVE AND I NEVER WILL AGAIN!! My heart sank. I wanted to shut my office door and cry!
I’ve been completely devastated when learning about the passing of Prince. The man and his music always seemed more than human to me: just a walking being of pure musical energy. I don’t even know where to begin on how his music and talent have impacted me.
I’ve heard several of his songs before but my senior year of high school, fall of 2004 is when I truly discovered Prince. My English teacher had a copy of Purple Rain in his cabinet of many vhs tapes. I asked if I could borrow it and took it home that night. During this time I was going through a hard time emotionally, a serious bought of depression which I was facing all alone. I felt I couldn’t relate to my family and would almost dread going home every night. I also felt isolated while at school, I just didn’t have a place anywhere. The only thing keeping me going at school was anything music or performance related. I was beginning to fear it could no longer fill me and at school being involved in music, I was just one of many; not important or outstanding in any way. I felt there was no hope. Thank goodness outside of school I took dance lessons and this had become another vice for me. Another way to perform and a place I could be myself and do what I love.
Anyway back to Purple Rain: it changed MY life more than I could say. I don’t care how many people say how horrible it is (the movie that is), they just don’t get it like me. Seriously this movie and soundtrack CHANGED my life! Even only semi autobiographical, Purple Rain was an eye opening look at how Prince took all of his struggles, hardships, work, wants, desires, passions, pretty much his whole life into his music. The soundtrack was just amazing throughout. I felt I could relate the struggles the movie portrayed though maybe my situation wasn’t as intense as his home life was acted out in the film. Each person connected to him whether family, band, boss/club manager, love interest or enemy you really felt all the tensions that were building up. That ending scene though!! I can’t put into words how that title track and ending scene makes me feel all the feels. Prince showed me how to turn your tragedies into triumphs! Don’t be anything other that yourself. Do what you love and love what you do! Put everything in your music, and that’s what I wanted to do: put all of myself in music, dance, performing. Above everything I do I am a performer: right down to the very core of my being.
Dancing was a way for me get everything out and kept my mind busy learning new things. Every senior got a solo in our yearly recital and I began looking for songs for my solo. Going through everything I was: depression, isolation, being an outcast, I felt compelled to do a lyrical dance. I knew right away I had to do my dance to Purple Rain. I couldn’t cut any of the song out; I had to include all the lyrics and leaving anything out would just not be right. This song MOVES me! My solo was 4 and half minutes btw… then again I was only 18 when I performed it.
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Another huge part of the movie and Prince as an artist from Minneapolis that inspired me: the setting at First Avenue. This drove me to pursue music when I went to college. Even though my family disagreed and would put me down saying, “You can’t get a job with a music degree, you will end up singing on the streets.” No support there except from myself. With my Purple Rain vinyl, I moved out of my parents’ the first week of school and into the dorms at school complete with a door covered with a Revolution poster:
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Looking at all his music since then and throughout the years: no one else even comes close to him as an musician, artist, performer. No one can do his songs like him and any cover just sounds like crap. He has the craziest widest range that just can’t be done by any other human and he can play ANY instrument. He seriously is the greatest artist of all time. Michael Jackson has(d) nothing on him. There will never be another Prince. Never. He inspired me to study music, also to move up to Minneapolis and someday perform at First Avenue. This venue is like my temple. After college when I was looking for jobs and apartments up in the Twin Cities, I went out of my way to find and drive by First Avenue. The first time I laid eyes on this venue was a religious experience. This was the place! Purple Rain was filmed here! Prince was made here! Everything that would eventually make it’s way to me and my life all started in this very building.
In May of 2011, I finally attended a concert there! I couldn’t believe I was finally in the same space Prince started and where that magical ending scene of Purple Rain was shot! And then I saw it, the giant star on the wall:
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EEEK!
It would be a dream to perform here but if not, I will find any reason to be a patron here. I’ve gone to concerts for bands I don’t even know just so I could be in the main room. There is nothing like seeing live music here, especially one of my favorite bands. Seriously this is the most amazing venue EVER!!!

This amazing city I am lucky to have two hours away, Prince has definitely left his mark here. “He was ours” an online article proclaimed on the day of his death. Seriously that couldn’t be any more true. This has been such a huge loss, and I was one of many who’s life was changed because of his music. We’ve lost such an amazing soul. This post has been difficult to write because I really can’t find any words to explain how much this person whom I’ve never met means to me. A sad time but also a time of celebration: A celebration for the life he had and the music he left. How many good times have I had to his music? Cruising around with friends to Raspberry Beret, dancing in the bar to I Would Die 4 U, Baby I’m A Star, Kiss, 7, The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, Fury, Let’s Go Crazy, Delirious, Pussy Control; it’s a LONG list! Also how many songs have I heard from other artists only to find out Prince wrote them? I remember being with a friend in a music store and noticing the Prince single for: How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore, a song covered by Alicia Keys. I then said to my friend, “If you think a song is good by an artist you don’t care for, it’s probably because Prince wrote it!”
I can only imagine how much unreleased music is in his vaults and I hope the world gets to hear someday.

Thank you for the music, inspiration, energy, life, love.

Goodnight Sweet Prince.

Nothing Compares 2 U