Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween from the Pittman Family at 5406...

Shrunken Alice in Wonderland and the White Rabbit.

Zorba (Satan's Little Helper), dressed up as (are we sure about this?) a Vampire.

And my little Angel, Potter...

Happy Halloween!

And then I ran 5 miles

So the day my job ended, I flew to Disney World.

Some might find this to be frivolous, irresponsible, excessive, and I agree, except I didn't exactly have to pay for it. I traded in some miles and flew to Disney World for $25 (AA will charge you for everything including luggage, peanuts and trading in your miles). Once there I met one of my "other families," the family of the former Lynnette Ogle, now Lynnette Davidson. And the Davidsons love Disney. And by love, I mean lurve.

They are a little coo-coo.

And that's saying a lot on my end. I mean, I wore a Frankenstein hat while handing out candy to the trick or treaters tonight who were also able to listen to a sixty song Halloween music mix playing on the iPod I had hidden outside behind the bushes. I enjoy using my imagination. Disney is the place for me. But I've got nothing on the Davidsons.

They have a whole ROOM devoted in Disney in their parents' house.


So I arrived at the airport and with instructions from Luanne, the mom, or grandma (of Lindley) to head toward the Disney Express. No need to pick up my luggage, some "cast member" would grab it and usher it to my hotel for me. All I had to do was get off the plane, get in line for a bus, get on said bus, watch a movie about Disney World (my pleasure!) and then arrive at my hotel. The Boardwalk. Wow. Super cool hotel. On a Boardwalk. Need I say more?

Luanne greeted me and handed me my park pass card and my meal card (a drink, main course and dessert with every meal!) and a little plastic card holder to carry them in. Awesome. Her daughters arrived shortly after me. Much to their chagrin, I'm sure, they had to share a room with me, and thus share a bed with each other. (I got the couch).

And then the guest of honor arrived: Little Lindley.

Lindley is the protege of my aforementioned friend, Lynnette (two n's and two t's please) and her husband Sam. Sam's sisters, Molly and Maribeth, are the doting aunties who buy Lindley lots of useless but funny junk and are the two who would begrudgingly share a room with me, the newby.

And Lynnette's parents arrived too! It was a family reunion of the Davidsons, Ogles and... Pittmans! Something like that. But I got my "Family Reunion" button from the hotel desk anyway and wore it all weekend.

However, the point of this particular adventure to Disney World was not to celebrate my retirement from the ministry, but rather to race. Yes, the Davidsons are runners. Don't ask me why. I hate the very act. My sister ran a marathon and I printed off the pictures of her in the silver after-jacket, eating a banana and looking dead, and I put them in my scrapbook. I have no intention of EVER running a race myself.

But when Lynnette called me a few weeks before the trip and asked, "Luanne wants to know if you want to run the 5k," I was shocked.
"Run as in run?"
"Well, we'll be walking."
"I thought I was supposed to be watching Lindley during the race."
"Well, now my mom is."
"Um... I don't know... I've never run anything before."
"Come on Ann, even my dad is doing it."

This is me pictured the first day at Disney World with said dad. Yes, we were wearing the same shirt. Ugh, Lynnette. Way to throw the way-older-than-me-person into the anty. Geez.
"Well, if he can do it surely I can..."
"Great. We'll sign you up."

So the next thing I know I'm signed up for the 5k. This however, was not the main attraction. Despite my world being TURNED UPSIDE DOWN by the thought of walking a 5k, Lindley's Diaper Dash was actually the main event.

You see, there were several brackets. (Is that what they call them in relays?) The 3-5 year old 100 yards run, the 1-2 year old 50 yard run, and the under-a-year-old 10 feet diaper dash. The babies were supposed to crawl. Lindley could only sit there. So with both sets of grandparents and two aunts, one auntie and her dad cheering her on, Lindley's mom lifted her and toddled her across the mat and to the finish line. We were thrilled and very proud. And Lindley was happy to have a new chew toy.

Our 5K began the next morning. And I have to admit, it was actually FUN! First of all it was like nighttime when we started. Observe the background in the picture of me and Lynnette: So it was cool and while I am NOT a morning person (almost to the degree that I am NOT a runner), there was something to the magic of that morning. When the fireworks went off and we began our face-paced walk, I was embarrassed to note that about 15 minutes into our trek through Disney's Magic Kingdom, the exuberant runners began PASSING us to head back to the finish line.


Well screw them, because do you know what was on the way throughout the park? Characters! Luanne and the others who were up ahead would text back to Sam, who travelled with iPhone in hand with me, Lynnette and her dad, which characters were coming up. At this point I would take off running with my camera to said picture spot, wait in line, have my picture taken, and then run back to catch up with Sam, Lynnette and Dad who had by then passed me. IT WAS AWESOME!!! I LOVED IT. And I got my picture taken with Cruella and Malificent.
Of course, I struck a pose between them and Cruella gave me a look that would kill. Amazing. I was born for Disney World.

At the end of the 5k we all took a pic together and I felt invigorated.
My first race! And I got a rubber medal just like Lindley!

Well, that night started another race. A serious race. Not some 5ker that sounds like a lot of miles but is really just 3. or something. There was a half marathon that would run from Animal Kingdom to Epcot. Of course, several of the Davidsons had signed up for this race as well. The exciting part about this race was that at the end you received a metal medallion, and at Epcot, the food and wine festival would be waiting for you!

Now, Sam, Lynnette, Molly and I had sampled the Food and Wine festival at Epcot earlier that day. And apart from being grossly disappointed with the downsizing of the champagne cups,
we were otherwise very pleased with our selections. So later that afternoon, when Sam announced that he wasn't interested in running his 5 miles of the 13 mile relay with his sister (who would run 8), before I could clap my hand over my mouth to stop the words coming out of it, I heard myself say, "I'll take your place."


I'll WHAT?

"Great," he said. "Done. You'll be Sam. Molly signed me up as a female runner anyway, so it's perfect."

O God.

I quit my job, I went to Disney World, and after walking a 5K in the morning I was about to RUN FIVE MILES that night?

I was delirious.

But I was stuck.

At 10pm, I found myself waiting in line for a bus with Molly and Luanne. Luanne, the wondermom, would run the 13 miles herself, whereas Molly and I would relay the 13 with 5 and 8 miles respectively. I began to get nervous. But after Luanne shared some of her goo with me (I have no other adequate word for this... it is literally goo that is packed with energy or something - I don't even know if this is possible - but it is happy goo in a little bag that you slurp up before or during your race), we were off.

And I had to pee.

So I left Luanne, running steadily along, and I made a beeline for the port-a-potty's. Gross. But I did my business and rejoined the race.

Without Luanne to distract me from this horrible mess I had gotten myself into, I turned to my iPod and Lady Gaga. And I began to sing. And not just "Paparazzi." "I'm Every Woman," "Love Shack," "Goodbye Earl," "Defying Gravity," and any other inspirational song I could find. Luanne later described me jogging past her singing, out loud, all by myself. But I don't care. At least I was running.

After all, Molly was waiting for me. And I couldn't wimp out. While I may have quit my job and submitted myself to a life of poverty, I couldn't let that affect my psyche. I needed motivation, not fear. And by God, I needed to finish that five miles.

It was hard. I'm not gonna lie to you. Grandmas were passing me. Old men with gimpy legs, were blazing past me. But with encouraging texts from my partner Molly, and a determination that I really could finish five miles if I just put my mind and legs to it, I ran.

And ran.

And thought I was going to die.

And ran.

And ran.

And saw the 13 mile handicapped wheelers pass me on their loop back to the finish line.

And ran.

And ran.

And saw the 13 mile speed runners pass me on their loop back to the finish line.

And I cursed their existence. And texted Molly my hate for the world. And ran.

And ran.

And when I reached Animal Kingdom, I found new vigor and I practically flew through saying hello to all the spots I love along the way: the safari ride, the theater where I saw Finding Nemo the musical, the restaurant we'd eaten at just the day before. And sure enough, I spotted Molly waiting for me at the non-baton-passing-mark (we actually had trackers attached to our shoes). And I slapped her hand and she took off and I stopped.

"Keep going honey," somebody hollered at me, and I realized Molly was waving me to come on as apparently we had to run 50 yards or so together. So I ran again, and then she went one way towards Epcot and I went the other towards... the bus. That would take me to Epcot. O God. I was done.

With my congratulatory bag full of shitty candy, gatorade and a banana, I sat on the pavement waiting for an empty bus to come get me and all the other slow runners. I munched on my food, marveled at my free food and drink vouchers for Epcot (they had to be worth $5 each!), tried not to throw up, and called my boyfriend.

"I'm amazing."

"I know."

I ran five miles. I quit my job, went to Disney World and ran five miles. "Who is this and what have you done with my friend, Ann?" a friend from seminary texted me. "I don't know," I wrote back.

i don't know.

But I'm off and running. Catch me if you can.

But only if you can run faster than a 12 minute mile.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Not that I'm thrilled with Obama. We're still meddling in the Middle East and giving thousands of naive Americans post-traumatic stress disorder. His administration, while posting videos telling teens it's okay to be gay, has still enforced anti-gay legislation. And that damn oil spill isn't cleaned up yet. Grr... But he's better than Bush. And sometimes it takes a long time to clean up big messes...

Remember when Amy and I as kids wrote on the outside of the house and on the patio in permanent marker? Yeah... so do I.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


"Ann, I need a consult."

My sister is a doctor and while no one has ever said this to me before, I assumed she needed advice or something and braced myself.

"Did Jesus say (in the Bible) that you're supposed to love yourself so you can love your neighbor?"


"No he didn't. I told you," she said to someone else beyond her iPhone. "Okay, thanks. Bye."

"Um, bye."

Three hours later my phone rang again. It was my father.

"Ann, I need your help..."

Apparently it's Ask-A-Reverend day. Who knew? But I'm glad I'm ask-worthy. The first ten minutes are free. After that it's a mere 19.95 an hour.

"My principal just walked into my room with his Bible," (my dad's a teacher...still...after retiring three years ago or something). "And I was making fun of him for carrying around his Bible on Parent Teacher Night, but then he turned to John 7 and said Jesus lied. And this is a man of real faith. So if I believe Jesus never sinned, did he lie?"

O lord. This would require more than the answer I gave my sister. Although my initial answer was the same. If you're curious, feel free to keep reading. If not, I'm here every hour of the day, seven days a week. First ten minutes of my curbside consultation are free.

"But there are parents waiting on me now, so could you just email me your thoughts? I have to run."

Sure. here goes...

My first answer is... if you believe Jesus was perfect, then no. Jesus didn't lie.


Truthfully, I don't even have to look at John 7 to learn why Jesus did or did not lie.

Which leads us to my second answer.... There are four gospels. That means four gospel writers. And in some cases (potentially John's case), a writing community. The earliest gospel (Mark) may have been written as early as 15 or 20 years after Jesus' death, but John, being the latest gospel, probably wasn't written any earlier than 60AD (more likely 80something AD). So, believing that the four gospels were penned by men, humans, one has to allow for the fact that one, they didn't remember everything Jesus said verbatim, and two, if they wrote that Jesus said one thing and then proceeded to "do the opposite" of what he just said, thus making him a liar, we are misreading the text. In other words, the point of John's story is obviously not that Jesus was a liar. He has a different point to make, so having Jesus say one thing and then do something contrary to what he said serves a point the author is trying to make. We generally call this rhetoric. And we use it all the time.

Forty years after Jesus' death, people began writing stories about his life. Why? Because all the eye-witnesses of Jesus were beginning to die. And someone had to keep the story going. Did John (or any other the other gospel writers) write down what Jesus said verbatim? No way. Why? It's impossible unless all four of them had aural-graphic (is that even a word?) memories. And also because they each wrote the stories down differently! And all four of them are in the Bible!

Were Jesus' last words, "It is finished?" or "Into thy hands I commit my spirit?" Who knows? Each of the eye-witnesses told it differently. Did Jesus overturn the tables in the Temple at the beginning of his ministry (John) or at the end (Matthew, Mark and Luke)? Who knows? They each told the story differently. Horray! God's story is told through humans! Humans who remember different things, rely on one another to help remember the story and who may even once or twice get the story wrong. But it's their story to tell.

And they use rhetoric and other literary devices to tell those stories. It is not fair for us to impose our proof-texts onto someone else's story. Especially if it's God's story. (that's very trickster-y of us) And especially if it's an ancient document that is at least 1970 years old and at other places 2800 years old.

That's my initial response not having read the text. I can research the text and get back to you if you want though... Love, Ann.

Dear family members, hope this helps. Amy, I need a refill on a prescription or two and Emily, well, I don't need anything from a second grade teacher in the hood right now. Mom, I need some help in my yard and Dad I have two auditions coming up, so I'm using all the advice you ever gave me as a kid. TTYL.

Your Punishment In Hell, a poem I could have written

I think this poem in hilarious and I feel its sentiment in cars while driving and sometimes at the post office...

Your Punishment in Hell
by Gary Leising

Someone will douse a cobra in gasoline,
light the sucker, and shove it headfirst
down your throat. It'll speed straight
through your esophagus, unfurl
its hood to fill your stomach
then begin to strike and strike and strike
and strike and strike: fangs pierce
your stomach, venom pours in,
the little burn of incipient ulcers
grows quick, paralysis sets in.
Your lungs stop before your brain,
before your hand, which lifts
to your mouth the plastic-lidded
paper cup holding the caramel
macchiato cappuccino with a double
shot of espresso and frothed soy milk
topped with two shakes of cinnamon
and no, NO (yes, you said no twice)
sugar that was made for you
slowly, while I, already running late,
waited behind you for a simple,
already-made black coffee.
You will lose all motion before
that drink reaches your mouth,
but you recover and the drink,
strangely, has vanished, and barrista
and cobra-douser-slash-lighter do it all again
and again. I know this because,
for my angry impatience,
I am behind you in line in hell
forever, the pot of black coffee
behind the counter steaming,
turning, I know, bitter.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Library and other poems

Here is a little pre-pubescent poetry by Ann Pittman circa 1988-1990. Please note, grammatical errors have not been changed (not that you'd notice the difference between then and now). Enjoy.

The Library (or BG as I like to call it... Before Google)
If you don't understand
What your suposed to do
And you need a hint
Or maybe just a clue
So you go ask your sis
But she gives you no advice
And you go ask your brother
But he's feeding his mice
Just when you think
Your as low as you could be
Your dad says "Come on"
And takes you to the library
He says that if you have a
Problem, you can find it in a book
So come on you silly kid
And let's go take a look.
You found your question right away
And found your answer rather quickly that day.

People come and people go
Ask me why
I do not know
Babies come
People laugh and have fun
Peers die
People cry
People have feelings
Yes, they do
So this is why I'm telling you
If someone dies mourn for them
If someones born rejoice again
Have some feelings for a friend
Because if your nice
And pleasant too
They'll have some feelings
Just for you

Tall trees
Tall trees tower
Tall trees tower tulips

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Wonder What Would Be On Yours

I have this bestie named Lynnette (two n's and two t's please) who I've known for almost ten years since we first met in seminary, unsure of our surroundings in waco as women in ministry and damn sure no men were going to intimidate us out of there.

when i wrote her to tell her that i had quit my job, she wrote me the following email...

"i see that according to FB you 'cannot believe [your]self.' i'm guessing this refers to your quitting your job. i just wanted to say that my hope for you is that you are embarking upon the beginning (or the discovery) of a mondo beyondo dream. for years i've been following this artist/writer/creative-type/soul-worker person named jen lemen. i think i secretly want to be her. or maybe just to approach life a little more like her. she's been writing a lot of stuff lately, well for years actually, about following your heart. she and a friend of hers created this concept a while back about mondo beyondo dreams. see here and here:

i want to make such a list. and then to live into it somehow.

i wonder what would be on yours."

Well, I began to wonder too and so made my own Mondo Beyondo list for myself because, why not? Right now I'm exploring who I want to be and what I want to do and how to accomplish the dreams I haven't quite realized. And because Lynnette is amazing and always knows just what to say and how to inspire me to live life to the fullest, I thought I would share this idea with you in case you could use some inspiration of your own. Some of my mondo beyondo dreams have been on my undocumented list for a long time now. People used to ask me what I wanted to do when I graduated seminary to which I responded, "Preach and be a lounge singer." Those are both on this list. Maybe it's time to cross them and some other things off.

1. Play Eva Perone, Eponine and Sally Bowles in productions of Evita, Les Mis and Cabaret respectively
2. Sing lead in a band (I even have our "name" picked out) that covers love songs and performs some originals
3. Record a meaningful CD of creative, lovely music that changes people
4. Take singing lessons from a professional Broadway-trained singer
5. Learn how to Lindy-hop
6. Take a ballet dance class
7. Be a lounge singer (at least for a night) and wear a long black dress when I sing (preferably one that sparkles)
8. Foster parent
9. Adopt a child
10. Have a swimming pool in my back yard
11. Drive a vespa and wear a helmet I designed myself
12. Write a book
13. Visit New Zealand
14. Be a professional preacher or public speaker
15. Teach at a University or College
16. Return to Paris (I was there once for only 24 hours)
17. Visit the grand canyon and breathe a little more broadly
18. Fall in love... again
19. Participate in a dance competition
20. Preach at my alma mater (William Jewell College)
21. Record a children's cd of lullabies and children's songs
22. Read books to children at a library
23. Wear a real diamond nose ring
24. Visit my girls in Temuco, Chile again
25. Catch up on all my scrapbooking and the scrapbooking I've wanted to do for others over the years
26. Renovate the house on the farm in Minnesota so that it is livable, and write a book there on the land and in the house
27. Make enough money to give a lot of it away and make a real dent of a difference in someone's life
28. Sing in an opera
29. Go camping with a boy i love
30. Own a pet turtle

And while we're making lists and exposing our hopes on the world wide web, what's one of yours?

Monday, October 11, 2010

I Quit My Job

August 15th was my five year anniversary at First Baptist Church of Austin, Texas. Three days later, I quit my job.

I officiated my first funeral when I was 10 years old. It was for my cat, Thisbe, who belonged to my parents when they married eighteen years earlier. Twenty-one years later, I officiated my second funeral for my uncle in Arizona who drank himself to death. Maybe I always knew I would be a minister. Maybe not.

At the dinner table one night, in those same years as the cat funeral, I announced that I wanted to be one of two things when I grew up: a preacher or president.

"Oh you can't be president," my concerned younger sister told me. "They'll kill you."

Well, probably. But not for any reasons that my sister understood at the time. All we knew as little kids was that of the four presidents we knew: Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy and Reagan (I don't think either of us could remember Carter), only one of them hadn't been shot at while in office. Presidents died. We, the people, killed them.

And If I were president instead of Obama or Bush I or II or Clinton or Carter or Reagan, I probably would be shot for being a socialist or a liberal or a hippie... and for being a woman I suppose (the only certifiable proof of the aforementioned offenses).

So I became a preacher instead.

Because in the pulpit it's okay to wear a nose ring and cowgirl boots, and say blessed are the peacemakers, and tell people they need to give 10% of their income away.


Not always, but sometimes. And fortunately I was at a church where sometimes preachers can do that.

But now its time to fill in the gaps that I overlooked as a child. Mostly as a kid I think I saw myself making speeches. I loved listening to our preacher, a man who told the same stories over and over again for 30 years, and who ran marathons in short, pink running shorts. And I loved President Reagan because I knew nothing about him other than he had been an actor in the movies. And I saw his face on the TV screen and knew that I was an actress (there wasn't the PC term "actor" used universally for both genders or transgenders of performers yet), so surely I could act and make dramatic speeches too.

As an adult, I know there's more to ministering than preaching and more to the presidency than speaking in Congress, and so I'm choosing another route.

Operation Strange Bird has begun.

I know I am one. I'm an ordained Baptist minister who preaches peace, pushes gay rights, teaches Old Testament (with a little bit of American literature thrown in), acts in local theater (and once played a mini-skirt-wearing Mary Magdalene), writes blogs (both public and secret for the discretion of her family), has never married, but dated a long list of men that is almost laughable (and boy do we laugh), suffers but survives a mental health disorder, and who would someday love to be a lounge singer.

Do I belong in the church?


Should I be running the church?...

I'm tired of running.

So I'm resting, and writing, and applying to PhD programs in Southern Literature, and officiating weddings, and reflecting, and auditioning, and exercising, and doing some guest performing, and hopefully visiting my grandparents and sisters whom I haven't seen since Christmas.

And most of this because I've learned so much in the past five years at FBC and so much in the past 32 years on this planet we call earth. And now it's time to spread my little wings, as patched together as they may be of ambitions and dreams and maybe-this'll-works, and try to fly. Even just a few feet would be okay.

And wherever I land I land. And then I will try again. And hopefully somewhere in there I'll get a little more perspective on my life and a little more direction. And perhaps with the help of some Wind maybe things will pick up enough that I'll actually soar, and someday land on my feet.

And if not, there's always the classifieds. Someone's bound to need a blessing for a dead cat.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A Fantastic Run

To recap...

In August I appeared in Trinity Street Players performance of The Fantasticks where I played 16 year old, Luisa. I was first introduced to this musical as a child. My father played both Matt and El Gallo in various productions. Rumor has it that as a young child, I knew my father's lines better than he did. However, when we were running them in Hawaii while on vacation, his memory served him pretty well. I was impressed.

I would practice my vocal warm-ups and songs by walking around my Great Aunt Ann's swimming pool (to keep my body moving - there was dancing in this show) and I would sing through everything as it played in my ears on my iPod. My father would sing along in his chair over in the shade with his feet propped up and a book under his nose. Occasionally he was off though, I had to cut him off and cue him from the pool when he could begin singing along "with" me again.

The show was magnificent. As a cast, we got along really well, hanging out with each other after rehearsals and performances. As a minister, it was a great opportunity for outreach, as an actor, it was refreshing to be a part of a cast who loved one another.

And the crowds loved us too. You can read our review here at Austin Live Theater Blogger!