Monday, June 28, 2010

Measure in Love...

I woke up this morning and I checked facebook, as I often do. One of the first status updates I noticed was that of a Five Towns student. "RIP," it said. I wondered who died. Then another Five Towns student. And another. And another. "RIP. RIP. RIP." Concerned, I texted a recent graduate who I know particularly well. I braced myself for news of the death of a faculty member. Or an administator. Or something silly. Like a costume or a prop. I was not, however, prepared to get the real news. That it wasn't a teacher or an administrator or a costume. It was a student.

Brian is a student who I knew. That's all. I knew him. I didn't know him well, I didn't teach him privately, I didn't have him in class. I did work with him on one production, but his first semester was my last, so I never got as close to him as I did many others. So why, then, was I crying so hard?

I called Ryan at work and told him the news. He couldn't quite remember Brian, but was sad to hear of the loss of someone so young. But it wasn't until I returned to facebook that it hit me what had happened. All of those students who I care about so much. All of them hurting.

The October after I graduated from college, my marching band friends and I suffered a similar loss when Frank and Jud Lawler were killed in a car accident. I'll never forget how I fell to the ground when I heard. How we all sat at the funeral dazed. And each year when we return for homecoming, we remember. We pass by their memorial on campus- they had made quite an impact on that school. We tell stories, and we laugh, and we wonder what they'd think of us now. All grown-up with kids and jobs.

As the day went on, more and more Five Towns students changed their profile pictures to shots of them standing next to Brian. On stage. At a party. In the courtyard. And I wondered if I might have a similar picture. I wanted to show solidarity for a community that had meant so much to me. So I searched. And sure enough, there we were. Christmas. Brian in a full Santa costume. Standing their smiling, just the two of us. I don't remember taking that picture, but I wasn't surprised to find it. Because that's the kind of kid Brian was. Life of the party. Everybody's friend.

And that's when I realized how much Brian was like Frank and Jud. And I had to ask the same question all those Five Towns kids are asking today. The same question we all asked ourselves  eleven years ago.


And of course I don't have an answer. We'll never understand, and trying to explain it in any definitive way doesn't pay enough respect to the real loss. But I wonder. When people so young. So full of life. So happy doing exactly what they're doing. Kids who have been so important to their peers. When those kids are taken? Maybe it's to preserve youth for all of us. We will always remember Brian and Frank and Jud exactly as they were. And we'll remember how we were when we were with them. And that has to mean something.

I am devastated for Brian's family today. I held Lily extra tight and gave her extra kisses and chased her around the bedroom for an extra long time. I cannot begin to understand what they're going through, and I would never attempt to offer them consolation. And I can't explain the loss to my Five Towns students. But I can say that I've been there and I hurt like you're hurting today. I am so sorry for what you're feeling. But it will get easier. And in the years to come, you'll look at those pictures you have of Brian. On stage. And in the courtyard. And in his Santa Suit. And you'll remember him, and you'll miss him, and you'll smile.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why We're Moving to Connecticut (and what it means for you)

Another long one, but hey, it's a lot of info, and people have been asking.

Ryan just signed a lease for a two-bedroom apartment. It's huge. And it has a dining room, central air,  a dishwasher, a balcony off of the master bedroom, laundry in the building, and a heated garage in which we are entitled one assigned spot. (there's a visitor lot, too) It's close to the train, an amazing shopping/restaurant district, and the beach. The rent is a little less than what we pay here.

And. It is in Connecticut. 

Greenwich, Connecticut, to be exact.

Now, why in the world would a couple of artsy Mets fans who have been struggling to make it in the Big Bad Apple for seven years suddenly pull up roots and relocate to Connecticut? Let's start at the very beginning.

About a year ago, Ryan's job started to get shakey. The economy was seriously effecting wealthy people's desire to redo their homes, and Ryan's boss sadly had to cut Ryan's hours to part time. (This was around the time, by the way, that a little new person came into our lives.) We struggled to make ends meet, and I eventually got a job teaching music for a certain baby education company. (It was Gymboree) That helped, for a while. My hours at Gymboree were enough to make up the difference in hours Ryan lost. Then while leading a meeting one night, (I was the manager) I mentioned to the employees that I intended to do something about our inconsistent pay. A few days later, a certain owner (her name is Mary Ann O'Neil. Fear of the name is fear of the thing itself) called me to tell me I was "not a good match for the company." Since this certain owner (Mary Ann O'Neil) had not submitted any of my paperwork, there was no record of my having worked there, and I was not entitled to unemployment. A few weeks after that, Ryan's boss told him he wasn't going to be able to keep him much longer.

Panicked (quite understandably) by the idea that we were about to have a five-month-old and no source of income, Ryan began his job search. Before long, he was offered a part-time position as a design assistant. Two days a week. In Old Greenwich, CT. But it was something. So he took it.

I will not drag you through the financial details of the last eight months. But it's been rough. Financially, physically, emotionally. The good news is that Ryan's job was very quickly increased to five days a week. The pay still isn't what it was at his old full-time job, but it's better. And, he has an artistic outlet now. This new designer respects him, has made him lead designer on a project, and has been supportive of the fact that he now has a few of his own freelance clients in the area. (a very big deal for an up-and-coming designer)

But it's still. Not. Quite. Enough,

So, why didn't I just get a job? 

On March 10 I wrote an entry titled "Get a Job (Sha-Na-Na-Na) about why this was so very difficult. It outlined my job requirements which were, in a nutshell: 1. It had to be in music education 2. It had to give me autonomy 3. It had to pay at least $30 an hour 4. It had to leave time for my involvement with Momentum Rep and my church.

You prayed, God listened. I was hired about two months ago to teach Music for Aardvarks and to form a new group called Groove Glee- a glee club for second-through-fifh graders. This job meets my pay requirements, is most certainly within my field, gives me room to teach the way I know how to teach, and only involves mornings and afternoons. It begins next week.

And. It is in Larchmont, NY. Located about fifteen minutes from Old Greenwich. 

So. We should definitely move there, right? I mean, Ryan has been commuting three hours round-trip EVERY DAY, (no, seriously) and pays about $23 in tolls and gas EVERY DAY (no, seriously) so obviously we should just move there.

Except. The adoption was not final yet. (more on that soon. Maybe tomorrow) We were not allowed to move. Not. Allowed. This was one of the most frustrating times in our life. We were literally trapped.

And then, last Friday, the Smith's went to court, and Miss Lily became ours forever. We are free to roam about the country. We started looking for apartments on Monday, and Ryan signed a lease today at noon. We move at the end of the month.

You prayed, God listened. This apartment is so far below market value, so perfect, we're still waiting for someone to tap us on the shoulder and tell us the whole thing has been a mistake. But we've signed a lease. It's ours.

So. What does this mean for you?

If you are a Momentum Rep or Glad Tidings friend: 
Absolutely nothing :) My commute into the city will be faster. 51 minutes on the Metro North. True, it's more expensive than the subway, but it runs on a schedule and is still less than what Ryan was paying to commute every single day. And it will be a little more expensive for you to come and visit us but 1- Greenwich is way cooler than Forest Hills. I mean, there's a beach and awesome shops, and 2- come on. How often did you visit us anyway?

If you are my Dad:
Congratulations. We now live way closer to you. An hour and 52 minutes on I-95, no city traffic or tolls.

If you are a voice student:
No worries, I'll come into the city and rent studio space once a week or so.

If you are an outer-burrough or Long Island friend:
OK. That's far. Meet you in the city? Or you could still take Metro North... Did I mention how cool Greenwich is? And that there's a beach?

And that's our story. I better get packing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Texts from Last Month

I've been busy. Really busy. Yesterday I met a friend from high school for coffee who could only laugh as I did my best to carry on an academic conversation about theatre while feeding Lily cheese and grapes.

But we're all busy. So I'm not complaining. But I made a commitment to blog, and this commitment has been difficult to fulfill. I'd love
to catch everyone up on every little detail of the last month, but that would take a long time and it would be really boring and Tom would make fun of me. So instead, I present to you Texts From Last Month. These are all texts I have received from a variety of people in my life, and they are unedited.

OK, it's really texts from the last two months. But you get the idea. And I think it tells the story.

Texts from last month:


I sold my first coffeehouse tickets...eeek its actually happening. Ive sold 4 so far :) :) ps james is bringing a cello player...amazing!!

it has been a long time since I have sent u a drunke text. so. here it is.

have you seen "The Muppets Take Manhattan?" b/c we are living it.

And kates dead
Ok kate would be so dead by now
She dun got shot in the chest. Bad guys always die from that
You've got very important arteries there. You'd bleed to death by now

Gone about 1/4 mile since last text (25 minutes ago) accident has 2 lanes of 95 blocked...WHY CANT PEOPLE WATCH WHERE THEY R GOING!!!!!!

Omg there's a rly creepy hinckley lookalike on my train.

Could you tell Lily that I mailed her invitations so she's not worrying about it all day. Thanks! I cc'd her on both her cell phones...but tell her just in case.

Hey, does Lilly have a Sophie the giraffe?

right. I'm sure it's SO diff. now to be a mom when others around u arent

Typed him earlier!

Cry quieter, please. It's annoying.

Eeeeek.... Lol, and you my friend are jumpin in te pool again! Yaaaay us!

HELP vehicle is calling me a tow truck. This, I fear is bad.

Hey- i gotta buy new papers and tobacco 4 the joint. Do u want to just use something like last nites?

Baby oragel seemed to do it

it will be very humiliating if I dont pass my fireguard test.

Not all assassins are farces of human beings.

Academic? Yes. Anal? Also yes. ;)

I'm thinking of writing a blog that's going to piss a lot of moms off. You think I should just keep my mouth shut?

Hi. I'm in the cab.

Who is my old man?

Tranny all the way.

Do i need the goatee for oil change? If not, i think im gonna shave it. :) if youd rather i wait, im cool with that too.

since i'm dead in act 2, am i called for tonight?

Space on white or home?

Hold off on notation... my intern is going to do it tonight and send via email.

Thats what mrc is about. 4 the first time ever i feel part of a group. Thx. Xoxo get home safe