Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 What A Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2013 proved most eventful. After a fun-filled 2012, 2013 started off... on the couch. New Year's Eve last year, I had dinner with Person and the Joneses and then promptly fell asleep on the couch missing all ringing in and other celebretory festivities. But perhaps I needed the sleep to prepare for the year ahead...

From a trip to Portland to visit my sister... to a Reverse Oregon Trail (Let's-Move-Amy-Back-To-Chicago-Trip)... to a brief nanny job in New York... to a relaxing fall leaves Colorado tour... to an Adriatric Cruise in the Adriatric (I realize this is redundant, but you guys - seriously!!)... this year I travelled much, and felt extremely grateful. I saw some gorgeous sites (mostly in the US!) and some amazing artifacts (mostly in Italy).  If I had to choose 2013's world's best sights, I really, really loved Crater Lake in southern Oregon,
The David in Florence, Italy, and the ancient Greek theatre (complete with coastal views) in Sicily, Italy.

Other totes awesome and random loveliness includes... experiencing Moltnoma Falls, 
hearing Pope Francis speak, 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas (2013)

On the first day of Christmas, the season gave to me... 
The annual picture 'round the Pittman Tree.

On the second day of Christmas, the season gave to me... 
Two dreamy friends, and a picture 'round the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Part Four: Adriatic, the Overview

Okay, so this is totes delayed, but as it's Christmas and I'm snuggled under a red blanket by a blazing fire and as the question of the day was "what was the best part of 2013," I felt a twinge of guilt (too many gluten-filled cookies?) about not finishing my Adriatic Cruise spectacularousness blogs.

That was a long sentence, but my brain is tired (too much wine and eggnog?).

So here goes. There are a few things about Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Greece you MUST know.

First of all, and you won't believe this, but... fish ate my feet. I swear to God. My Person didn't believe it either, which is why he shelled out our last 10 Euros to pay to see it happen.  And it did. I went all Kim Kardashian and let fish eat the dead skin off my feet.  Check this out.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Part Three: Disembarkation Day

"What I can't stop thinking about is what you were wearing while you were packing!"

A perfect stranger said this to me today.
Well, technically he was a retired Canadian with health issues who sat next to me in a taxi in Florence and upon falling asleep (confirmation made by snore factor) allowed his hand to fall on my leg which was not proper even for squished taxi etiquette but I let it slide. So, not a perfect stranger but, we weren't really that close.
So why was this decisively dirty old man picturing me packing? Well, do you want the context, or would you rather use your imagination?
Let me just say, reality will be just as impressive.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Part Two: The Ship

My Person and I have embarked on an Adriatic cruise.

I was wary. I get motion sick just riding on swing sets and elevators. I excused myself from the theater and threw up in the bathroom during that Captain-I-Got-Attacked-By-Somalie-Pirates movie. Plus the only other ship movie I've ever seen is Titanic, so this added to my anxiety. But my sister is a doctor, so, loaded with drugs and patches, I boarded on Nov. 18th. This is my view every morning. Cue jealousy.
There are a lot of people on board this ship... and most of them are old. By "old" I mean my parents would be in the younger crowd here. I've thoroughly scoped it out. I can tell you how many sets of parents with young kids (4), how many families with teenagers (3), how many gay couples (4), and how many random youngish couples in their 20s or 30s (eh, maybe 8).  And according the the lady couple we met who travels together on these cruises all the time, there is officially one (1) single man on board who boarded the ship by himself (there is apparently an art to cruising - more details on this later).

These numbers aren't exact of course (except the single guy one - the ladies actually go to the photo station and scope out all the pics that the photographers take of couples, families and parties when we embark. So they know - one single man who got on by himself. I told you, for cruise professionals, its a fine art). There are 2000 people on board and I only see these people during meal times (and there are like 7 restaurants on board, and two different dinner times (we're at the 8:30 slot), and 15 levels on this ship. So... I might be off by a handful in one category or another.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Adriatic Tour Part One: Rome

You can't imagine what its like here.

My mother's full-time job for 30 years was to teach Latin (and French), so you can probably imagine what it was like at home. Occasionally our bedtime stories included books with images of Greco-Roman gods and stories of valor and indiscretion. In the summertime, (when my mother wasn't drowning amidst the teenagers at work and three flamboyant daughters at home), Tuesday was fun day, so once a week she would take us to a museum or art show, or whatever was culturally beautiful and educational all at once (there is the obvious exception of World's of Fun - but I attribute those excursions to my grandparents anyway).
But all the books and museums in the world couldn't prepare me for what I saw in Rome... the Colosseum (built just 2-4 years after the fall of the Jerusalem Temple) with its cages for wild animals and men alike... the remarkably preserved Roman ruins sprinkled throughout the city - columns, floors, temples ... the Pantheon with its remarkable gold dome - architectural genius... and Saint Peter's Basilica which borrowed gold from the Pantheon for its own remarkable decorations.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Whirlwind of Change - 3 Years Later

A Whirlwind of Change

This is the third time I've delivered a version of this sermon. The first was at Lakeshore Baptist in Waco, Texas in 2004, the second was at Sanctuary in Tarrytown in 2010 and the third was last Sunday at First Baptist of Austin, the church I worked at from September 2005-October 2010. You may listen to the spoken words at First Austin's Website - "2013-10-27" will get you there, but be fair warned, I was a little weepy. While this is an impassioned sermon about change and loss, I did not expect to be as affected as I was. I attribute this to several realities in my life some of which I share in the sermon and others that remain hidden in my heart. Plus, this was my first time "back" at First Austin in a pastoral capacity. While I have helped with weddings and funerals since I left my position there, and performed with Trinity Street Players in Blood Brothers last year, this was my first time back to the pulpit. It was an honor to be asked back by my former boss and my former congregation, and a testimony to my journey these past three years that I was able to say yes. I've wrestled with calling... from the stage to the pulpit to the microphone to the computer - who am I? What should I do with my one wild and precious life? This fall has proved a ministerial season for me: four weddings and a funeral (yep, it's true), three lectures at UBC in Austin and finally preaching last Sunday at First Austin. No theatre this fall for Ann Catherine... no Les Mis, no Man of La Mancha, no Falsettos - too many performance conflicts. So unbeknownst to me, a season of ministry began in September and is now winding down. And amidst the winds of change in my own life, I preached this sermon about a man and a mentor and the great wind that blew over him. 
Enjoy (italics is sung). 

What can I do with my obsession?
With the things I cannot see?
Is there madness in my being?
Is it the wind that moves the trees?
Sometimes you’re further than the moon
Sometimes you’re closer than my skin
And you surround me like a winter fog
You come and burn me with a kiss
And my heart burns for you
And my heart burns

Elisha was obsessed, and Elijah (his master) had only three trips left to make before the Lord would take him away. Gilgal, Jericho and the Jordan all needed some final work done before he left. Elijah had anointed Elisha, and had just a few ends to tie up before he knew God would call him home.

We don’t know why he didn’t want Elisha to accompany him. Perhaps he wanted to finish those last three visits by himself. Perhaps he needed time to think or reflect before he left the earth. Maybe he worried about his disciple Elisha, and thought the trips and the whirlwind would be too much for him in these last few days. Or maybe he was tired of always being followed around by an obsessive student. But whatever the reason, three times Elijah told Elisha, “No, don’t come with me,” and three times Elisha replied, “Not gonna happen; I will not leave you.”

It’s almost humorous reading the text, for in each scenario the same thing happens. “Don’t come with me Elisha.” “Too late,” Elisha replies. Elisha’s obsession about staying with Elijah reminds me of the beginning of the book of Ruth when she refuses to return to her own county but vows to stay with Naomi instead.  It reminds me of Sam’s allegiance to Frodo, Sandy's following of the Little Orphan Annie, or of C3PO to R2D2.           

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Letter to the Governor of Arizona

Fortunately, the article I read is not real, and was written for a satirical news source that is not The Onion (to which I am familiar and subscribe!).  However, I did not realize this until after I angrily, but calmly wrote the following blog and email.  So, for your viewing pleasure, if you are ever concerned that you live in a society where this sort of atrocity could actually take place (and let's be honest, we totally do - remember Arizona's non-satirical, completely legit, immigration policy?!), here's your strongly worded email...

August 22, 2013

To Gov. Brewer of Arizona and "Lynn" of People Can Change in Virginia,

I recently read an article stating that classes that will be offered in schools across Arizona teaching homosexual children and teens how to become straight/heterosexual.

I am concerned about this and wanted to let you know why.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Noisy City

This is the noisiest city I know. I've been to London, Hong Kong, Paris, Jerusalem, LA, Istanbul - lots of cities. And even in the ones where the Islamic Call to Prayer horn goes off in the middle of the night it's not as noisy as New York City.

Now, it doesn't help that "N...Y...C... Just got here this morning" won't stop running through my head. "Three bucks!  Two bags! One meeeee!" Ugh. So many "Me"s here in New York.

That may explain why there is constant, constant noise.  

I admit, I am one of those people who prefers intentional noise.  When I'm at my parents house, I'm constantly walking through rooms and turning off TVs no one is watching.  "What'd ya do that for?" I get when three minutes later someone walks into the same room and turns it back on. I only put on a record (or my iPod) or a movie when I need motivation to clean house, or finish my 900th scrapbook. And that's usually only about once a month or so. I didn't like noise when I studied during my school years, and I don't like noise when I work now. "Seriously?" I walk into our company president's office.  "I can hear this song all the way across our building.  Your music is too loud if it is crossing 6000 square feet."

Thankfully the President is my Person, so he just rolls his eyes and turns it down.

My point: it is simply unnecessary to be that loud.

I feel the same way about Paul Ryan. Just. Stop. Being. So. Loud. 

And dumb. Stop being dumb. 

But I'm digressing.

The apartment I'm staying at here in the big apple is on the 31st floor. I know, right? And it has a great balcony. But can I open the sliding glass door and let the cool New York breeze blow in to remind me I'm not suffocating in Austin this evening? No, I cannot. Why? Because the noise outside at 9:27pm might wake the baby.

Seriously? I can't open the window because I might wake the baby? And it's not like this stops. When I'm standing on the balcony during the daytime, I can't even hear my text message ding when my phone is sitting right next to me. 

It's so loud here!

Listen to me New York (if you can hear me over the noise). You need to take it down a notch. I know you have Broadway (believe me, I'm fully aware). I know you have Sex and the City - God bless that show. And I know you have the Yankees, the Mets, the Giants and the Jets (no I don't know what actual sports these teams represent). But come on! Chill out. I don't need to hear your honking horn 31 stories up. Nor do I need to hear about who's being an asshole. TMI. And for the love of God, put down the microphone; you're not Patti LuPone. (Unfortunately, neither am I).

I mean, was New York built on a giant metal shell and no one noticed? I am not a country girl accustomed to only cow lowing, nor did I just gain use of my ears and am thus overwhelmed by sound waves. So why am I so annoyed by the noise? Because it's excessive. Why is there a constant hum in this city? Not all of you use air-conditioning units, so I know it's not that. Is there perma-construction at all hours of the night and on every street? Has the NSA put invisible, but not indiscreet drones outside our bedroom windows to keep tabs on our every conversation? Why can I hear every time a bus uses its air brakes? Every time a truck runs over a pothole?

They say everything is bigger in Texas. They are wrong. The noise in New York is bigger. Much. Much. Bigger.

Maybe Texas is quieter because we have all those wide open spaces. Our noise doesn't carry as far. Ugh. That makes no sense. Neither does it make sense that the buildings in this city seem to amplify sound instead of deaden it. Where's my high school physics teacher when I need him? Probably cleaning out his ears because he played in a band for 50 years and now has damaged hearing.

Gah. Am I like 90 years old now? I sound like my grandma. And not in any of the ways I want to sound like my grandma because she is, admittedly, fantastic.

There it is again: sound. Sound. I Sound. I can't escape the noise. Noise. Noise. Even when I write.

And maybe that's my problem. The noise is inescapable. And I like to escape. Believe me, I'm really good at it. I had my imagination when I was little... church in high school... alcohol in grad school... I even escaped into a career that I eventually had to escape. Escapology is my thing. In fact, Houdini should have my number (if he ever figures out how to escape death - keep holding those séances y'all!). If they gave out awards for best escape artists, I would have one. Bottom line is: I have always been able to escape the noise in my head and the confusion in my heart by throwing myself into something else.

But there's no escaping the noise of New York City.

Not even with my hot pink, extra soft Women's Earplugs. I should know. I bought some at the corner pharmacy last night.

So New York, here's the deal. I will try really, really hard to learn to live and not just to survive. I will learn to seek the moment, not the escape. But in return, I need you to channel your inner yogi and be quiet for a few minutes. Stop honking, yelling, buzzing, humming, clinking, banging, smashing, slamming and zooming. Stop shooting Botox at your face and insults at your neighbor. Stop the 24-hour construction and stop the 24-7 deliveries. Just be quiet.

And for the love of the theatre, let silence take the stage for once.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Did We Win?

1. Amy, The Doctor
2. Ann, The Actor
3. Andee, The Aerialist

I Spoke Too Soon...

I know I keep posting that I've seen over the past week, some of the most beautiful and awesome places in America (please pronounce that with a Presidential accent), but our final destination outside of Denver, CO, could not go without mention either.  The magnificence of Mt. Evans could not have been a more fitting end to the Reverse Oregon Trail because we viewed it's majesty on America's (are you keeping up with your accent?) Independence Day.

So. Amazing.

We drove... and drove... and drove... to get to Denver where we checked into a super rad hotel that is both dog-friendly and LGBT-friendly, so we knew we were guaranteed supurb service and excellent decor.  Indeed, they had the freaking fuzziest cow blankets  strewn across the ends of the beds which perfectly complimented the twenty-foot tall curtains accenting the subtleties of the carpet pattern.  Lord.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Destination #2

I seriously thought our second destination would not even come close to rivaling the amazeballsness of The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.  But it was SO RAD.  Here's why.

1. "It means what you think it means."  is what The Aerialist told us as she read the Wikipedia entry on The Grand Tetons, because we couldn't keep our eyes off them.  They're so beautiful.  We went from a gorgeous Oregon to a beautiful Idahoming.  And we needed detes on why in the world they're called the Grand Tetons.  I will refrain from giving my opinion on this name or it's etymology.  Because they look like this.

90 and Counting

Happy Birthdays all around this week.  Not only is it our nation's special day... Happy Bday Lady Liberty...
but yesterday was also my Grandma's 90th birthday!  That's right, Ninety, and still counting!  Happy Birthday to the noblest lady I know.  So vital and full of life.  You're an inspiration.  Keep on growing, girl.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

You're Taking Me Too, Right? guest blogger, Sophie Pittman

I was in oregon.  I really liked it there.  There were trails, and trash cans, and coasts, and fountains, and caitlins, and margarets, and slugs, and sticks, and apples, and visitors.  I am on a road trip.  I would like to get in the front with my mom, but it's not allowed.  I wind around and curl up and go to sleep.  Or I stretch completely out across the whole backseat.  There's a horse we just passed.  What's that smell?  I have a hurt foot.  We went to the grand tetons yesterday because I wanted to. We swam in a big bath tub that had moving water.  It was hard.  I hurt my foot.  Jackson hole is a dump.  I hate that place.   We went back to driggs because I wanted to.  There was a lady at the campfire and there was something funny about her.  But then I liked her.  We just passed a smell.  What's that smell?  I'm tired.  We are going to denver because I want to.  It's nice that oikos makes yogurt containers that are easier to lick clean than yoplait.  I hate yoplait.  What's that smell?  I don't like to be alone.  Ann and andee went in a store in jackson hole and it took years and years for them to come back, but I waited.  I hate jackson hole.  Everyone loves me.  There was a man at signal mountain who was eating a roast beef sandwhich on rye with mayo, tomato, lettuce, and swiss.  Everyone loves me and I can easily fit onto beds and laps and chairs and pretty much anywhere and not take up much room.  I'm thirsty.  What's that smell?  There is a wonderful container full of ends of foods and coffee filters and banana peels that my mom leaves for me everyday in oregon.  She sets up obstacle courses to keep other people out of it besides me so that I can have it all to myself.  I know she'll have one in chicago too.  There's another horse.  My best friend in columbia was a horse because people and horses can be friends.  We are going to st. joseph after denver because I want to.  They love me there.  What's that smell?

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Appendix A: Matthew Lewis

YOU GUYS.  I mean seriously.
I made The Doctor and The Aerialist google "Neville Longbottom now" once we were again in civilization and had access to the Internet.  As I suspected, they were startled by his sexiness.
Thank you very much.

Who Would You Marry and Other Car Games

"So who are your top three celebrities you would marry?" The Doctor asked.

"Mine would be Bruce Campbell when he was younger," The Aerialist replied, "Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd the TV show, and really any of the IT guys.

The Doctor said she would choose Ryan Gosling and really any hot comedian.

I'd never heard of the IT Crowd, and only know who Ryan Gosling is because when I visited The Doctor back in February, I asked her who that guy about whom everyone makes FB meme.  Appalled, she made me watch Crazy Stupid Love.  And indeed, Ryan Gosling is gorgillious.  But I had bigger problems than properly identifying Ryan Gosling as the most amazing man in America.  I couldn't think of any male celebrities... except ones I maybe would have replied with fifteen years ago.  I held my tongue knowing that these names would not only date me, but expose me to the ridicule of my complete dissociation from pop culture.

Monday, July 01, 2013

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

The decision to awake at 3:30 to pack the car, drive to the Crater Lake Rim, and watch the sunrise was a difficult one that I left to The Doctor and The Aerialist.  I'm in this for the adventure, and the three hours of sleep that event would have afforded us would have affected my decision.  Apparently it affected their decision too.  We slept all the way through the night and left the next morning at a normal hour for what shall hereto be known as The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.

Actually, that's not true... about the sleeping through the night thing I mean.  Sophie woke her mother up four times distraught about why they had packed their entire life into a car and driven to Southern Oregon.  I too frequently awoke from disturbing dreams of puppets chasing me around a burning house.  Not even puppets.  They're those cardstock animations with circle hinges at the joints so you can thumbtack them into the wall in different positions.

Welcome to Ann's Dream World.

The First 344 Miles

Once The Aerialist and I arrived in Portland it actually took us quite a while to get going.  The Doctor had to do a walk-thru on her apartment, we had to go to the grocery store to get food for the trip (remember those tricky aerialist allergies?), we needed to say goodbye to My Person's daughter, and of course, we had to go to the Columbia outlet.

While the Aerialist and I had been waiting for The Doctor to finish up at her apt., we walked up Hawthorne Street sipping smoothies and talking about delicious food we can't eat.  In addition, she made the brilliant suggestion that we get matching Portlandian tattoos.  I said no way jose.  Matching piercings?  Sure. The Doctor and I had already done that once in college.

Fast forward a couple hours to after The Doctor had unloaded a queen blowup bed and some dress clothes on My Person's daughter, and the three of us were at the Columbia outlet eying the 70%off already discounted shoes.

The end result?  You guessed it.  Matching hiking tennis shoes.

So. Awesome.

And after finally getting on the road and driving several hours south, we grabbed socks and strapped our feet in.  Our destination?  The top of Smith Rock.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Reverse Oregon Trail

I am in Portland.

For the second time this year, I have flown to Portland to see my sister, hereto described as The Doctor. The first trip was for pleasure, this one is for purpose.

We are engaging Operation Reverse Oregon Trail.

For anyone not in grade school in the 1980s, and/or who never read their fifth grade American History Textbook this means that we are heading West... no, make that East... on a trail back to the midwest.

Bleh.  Why would anyone leave Oregon to travel back to Missouri?

But we're doing it.  And we're accompanied by Sophie the flatulent Labrador, and Andee, the allergy-ridden aerialist.  Needless to say, it's going to be awesome.

Except I'm already out of money.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Little Midsummer Night's Dream

It's Shakespeare and its a rock concert and my costume is lingerie meets circus performer... are you excited yet?

UT hosts the Texas Musical Theatre Workshop which includes a performance Thursday night of Vigand & Milburn's new musical, A Little Midsummer Night's Dream... Shakespeare's famous fairy filled play condensed into an hour and a half chamber musical featuring Shakespeare's quirky leads as rock stars and the four star-crossed lovers as hipsters at a music festival.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Happy May Day from 1985 to 2013

1985 Ann listed "May Day" as one of the top four best holidays... right behind Valentine's Day (or is it Ann's Day - hard to tell).  Valentine's Day?  Seriously?  Obviously 1985 Ann never met 1999 Ann or 2005 Ann or 2011 Ann or... I mean, really, where were my priorities?  Also what, pray tell, is a "Bathday Party?"... Cause I totally wanna have one this weekend.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Memorializing My Other Mother

"Beware the Ides of March," my mother wrote in a text message. Every year, I receive these words from my Mother in some form or another... a text, an email, a phone call. My mother was a Latin teacher for 33 years. Old habits die hard.

Turns out people die too.

"Jane's gone," I wrote back.

It's almost fitting that March 15th was the day of her departing. Also a Latin teacher for many years, and the wife of a Classics professor, Jane, "My Other Mother," would have appreciated the irony.

"If I had to go, that's as good a day as any!" I can hear her saying to God.

Truth be told, it is us, those she left behind, who feel the stab of the knife, the pang of death. We remove our hands from the bleeding wound of our broken hearts and gasp, Et tu, Jane? You die too?

I've lost a lot of people in my 34 years. I once dated a man who, at 38 years old, had never been to a funeral. I, on the other hand, have been to so many funerals in my brief time here on earth that I'm not sure I could count them all. But even in that truth - living as a minister of the cloth always with the reminder that from dust we have come and to dust we shall return - I still feel the shock of death.

And Jane Nethercut? She was mortal too?

It seems wrong.

"We love you and all our other Pittmans so much!!" was the last text I received from Jane five days prior to her passing.

We love you too, Jane.

"This is my daughter by choice," Jane told the social worker in the hospital room several weeks ago. The woman misunderstood and began a lecture on how detrimental favoritism of children is among family members. "No, no, I explained to the nurse, it's not that Jane has only so much love to give her children that she has to play favorites. Rather, her and Bill's love is so abundant that it spills over from their own children and onto the rest of us. Thus Jane & Bill take on extra "kids"... She chooses to add me into her family."

The first time I saw Jane, she was giving the devotion at a deacon's meeting as the Deacon Chair Elect. She told a beautiful story of how geese fly taking turns in the lead and then moving to the back of the line. She spoke of their fluidity and wisdom.  And then she prayer, "Dear God, help us be smarter than a goose," and sat down. :) I knew then that Jane Nethercut was a woman I would look up to.  I found out later that to fulfill an obligation for my pastoral residency with CBF, Roger had chosen Jane and Bill to be my adopted parents. But that title and our relationship lasted much longer than that two year program. And now I stand before you mourning the loss of my Other Mother.

Jane, me and Gloria (the Nethercut kids' Other Mother), Mother's Day 2012
I read excerpts of what is written above at Jane's funeral celebration on Tuesday.  I also sang "Heavenly Day" by Patty Griffin which was truly a spiritual experience as I tried to memorialize my friend with peace and thanksgiving, rather than anger and sadness in my heart.  In addition, I chose the following scripture to be read at Jane's ceremony.  Roger spoke and Grant and the choir sang, and Jane would have loved the service, I believe.  And so, from Ecclesiastes Three…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time
to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to
everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a
sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the
beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy
themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take
pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added
to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has
gone by.

Thanks be to God for the life of Jane Nethercut.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Intimate Apparel: Apparently I'm In It

I saw an acquaintance in the lobby after my performance in Intimate Apparel on opening night.  We made small talk and then he asked, so what are you working on right now?  Um... Intimate Apparel, I replied... I play Mrs. VanBuren.

He was shocked and obviously hadn't recognized me.  But neither did the director's boyfriend when we were introduced.  I had to explain that the reason I was wearing so much makeup isn't because I live in Dallas, but rather in the theatre, and yes, I was in Intimate Apparel.

So if you venture onto UT's campus and wander into the Winship Building and find your way to the Oscar Brockett Theatre, open your program, read the cast of characters, and look for the white lady onstage: that's me.

Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage is a contemporary piece written about an African American seamstress in 1905 who sews intimate apparel for both the wealthy women of New York and the ladies of the night.

"What are you?" my work colleague asked when I told her about the show, "The token white lady?"

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Pittman Family Christmas

I set out to write a Christmas card like the super-organized perfect arm of Americans who have theirs in my mailbox before the twenty-fifth every year. 

I am not that talented.

Then I aimed for a new year’s card, or at least a new year’s blog.  So many funny things happened over Christmas that in rightful anticipation of it, my father bought all the participants “A Pittman Family Christmas” tee shirts.  It was like the Griswolds… with a little more sophistication.

There were no moose-eared-mugs or dickey-wearing-uncles or plastic-Santas-with -reindeer at our house.  I mean, before we arrived, my father stole out in the night to cut off pieces of garland growing around mausoleums in order to decorate his meticulously wrapped gifts with the freshest, most beautiful, and most aromatic accouterments.  “That one’s from the cemetery on Ashland, and that one’s from the neighbor’s back yard.” 

But this is nothing new.  When my sister married, my mom wandered the neighborhoods of St. Joseph with her scissors and garden gloves cutting blooms off hydrangea bushes.  “They’ll never notice one missing flower…”

No one was missing from Christmas this year, except Grandpa.  But at every meal that I was asked to pray over (will I ever stop being the token Christian in my family?) I reminded God to please tell Grandpa hello for us.  And truthfully, I bet Grandpa got a real kick out of all the laughing we did over Christmas; he would have loved it.  All his girls were home.

Family is a relative term in our household.  Of the six to ten stockings that are filled whilst we “children” sleep, not all of them go to “Pittmans.”  There’s Andee who spends every holiday with us, sleeping with Amy in her bed, just like they did when we were kids and neighbors.  However, this year we added Andee’s boyfriend to the mix, so with Andee and I both bringing boys home, and only two double beds in the house, both of my sisters had to give up their bedrooms this year.  “I have to sleep on the couch,” Emily complained, grabbing some blankets from the closet.  “Well I have to sleep with the ghost!” Amy shot back. 

After my youngest sister, Emily, arrived, sometime in the late 80s, I lost my bedroom and moved into my father’s study.  Unfortunately, the “study ghost” already lived there, so I went from sharing a bedroom with an infant to sharing a bedroom with an ethereal being.  Fortunately, I only had a twin bed.  But, he never bothered me, though several others had sightings of the study ghost including my sister Amy (now a surgeon) and another “sister,” Mary, from up the street.

Ah… memories.

But where was I?... Mausoleum theft… grandpa… stockings, ah yes.   So Andee gets her own stocking and there’s the BFOTY stocking (affectionately designated by my loving family members to go to the person whom they call my “Boyfriend of the Year” – whatever guy I can con into dating me in November so that he’ll drive me home for Christmas in December.)  Nice, right?  I know.  And usually the pets get their stockings too, although Santa forgot to fill them this year, so when the dogs got annoying on Christmas morning, sticking their wet noses into all our half-opened paraphernalia, Mother traipsed upstairs and grabbed the unwrapped dog treats and handed them out accordingly.  That quieted things down for a while. 

Gloria was in town this year too.  That made my Grandma happy.  My Aunt lives in Hawaii, but not just in Hawaii, on a tiny privately owned island called Lanai.  So getting over to visit her is not an inexpensive task.  And grandma hasn’t made that trip yet.  So Gloria and I, both bundled to the max in scarves and hoodies and gloves and coats having left behind 70 and 80 degree climates to journey to Missouri, were both home for Christmas this year. 

And as such, all ten of us had tee-shirts… turquoise-colored cotton with white block lettering and a snowflake to remember 2012, which proved to end with, indeed, a classic Pittman Family Christmas.

Taken while BFOTY was adjusting the camera settings :)  Merry Christmas!