Real World Trials and Tribulations

or how I try to convince everyone that I am now a functioning adult

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Our dog may have picked up a bad drinking habit over Thanksgiving. The holidays can do that to you.

Filed under funny dog wine

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More Absurd Diagnoses

So the holidays are here! Which is always very exciting for me, but I’ve heard they can be crazy for other people. Lots of family, lots of stress, lots of booze… it can lead to heightened situations and also lots of injuries. Or so I’ve been told. Apparently the ER is a crazy place during the holidays. So, in preparation for these upcoming days I went through the list of ICD-9 codes again and picked out some (completely real) medical conditions/diagnoses that you can be glad don’t apply to you:

Fear of cotton or cotton balls

Fear of activities in public (activities is pretty vague, but this sounds pretty debilitating)

Fear of appearing ridiculous (aren’t we all?)

Fear of empty streets

Fear of feathers

Fear of hospitals (which is just a terrible thing to have to get diagnosed with in a hospital I would think)

Fear of oncoming retirement (don’t tell my mom about this one)

Fear of saying the wrong thing

Fear of surgical masks (I wonder if they have to sedate you before you go into the operating room for this condition)

Fear of sweating

Fear of writing in public

Accidentally caught in drying rack (how?)

Accidentally caught in letter box (only diagnosable in England?)

Accidentally knocked down while boxing (is it really an accident then?)

Accidentally struck by falling street furniture (what is street furniture? And where is it falling from?)

Accidentally struck by stationary object (but how???)

So anyway, there you have it. Some odd diagnoses you can be glad you don’t have while you are trying to suffer through your Uncle Larry’s mildly racist jokes or the fact that someone ate the last slice of pie before you could have any. 

Happy holidays everyone

Filed under Thanksgiving ICD-9 these are so weirdly specific

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Love is Company

I’m a bit less than a week out from opening night of another show here in Madison. The current show is Company and if you don’t know it, it’s a delightful little musical about a single guy and all of his married friends. The story is told as a series of vignettes with several different couples who have very different relationships and illustrate Bobby’s thoughts and worries about marriage.

Now, I’m not married and thus can’t really weigh in on the institution, but watching this musical every night makes me appreciate the commitment there. There is insanity and pettiness and confusion between the couples, but there is also tenderness and understanding and an undefinable connection, and it’s those little moments that get me every night. What I think the show is so great at highlighting is the difference between Bobby’s relationship with everyone and their relationships with each other. What is increasingly clear about Bobby (our single guy) as the show progresses is that he is much more a spectator than a participant in the action of the musical. He’s in every scene, but rarely is the scene about him. He’s the unassuming witness to the crazy drama happening around him. He is comfortable with his relationships with his married friends because he can be there when they need an outlet or someone to come over for some fun, but he doesn’t have to put up with the tough aspects of the relationships they are in. He’s a witness to their highs and lows, but ultimately is also a stranger to it.

One of my favorite songs of the show is a bittersweet reflection on marriage sung by a few of the husbands. After spending a night with one of the couples (Harry and Sarah), Bobby asks Harry if he is ever sorry if he got married. The answer he gets is:

You’re always sorry
You’re always grateful
You’re always wondering what might have been
Then she walks in

And still you’re sorry
And still you’re grateful
And still you wonder
And still you doubt
And she goes out

Everything’s different
Nothing’s changed
Only maybe slightly rearranged

You’re sorry-grateful
Why look for answers
Where none occur?

You always are
What you always were
Which has nothing to do with
All to do with her

The song continues, and all of the lyrics are poignantly conflicting. But I think this song is a beautiful description of marriage, or how I imagine marriage must be. That a deep relationship like that is something that you can always be both grateful and sorry for. That every great decision you make in your life, especially the ones involving another person, is a complex entity that will never be fully good or bad. It lives in the contradiction that you can be glad you took your life in that direction, while at the same time wondering if there is something better out there that you never explored.

By the end of the show that’s what Bobby has to decide. If he wants to keep drifting, unattached, or if he’s ready to make a commitment and take all the scary, confusing, and rewarding uncertainty that comes with it. He has to make the choice to want something, and admit that he’s ready to stop being a bystander to his life. His friends are there to encourage him and let him know that he shouldn’t be afraid that it won’t be perfect, the only thing he should be afraid of really is that it won’t be.


Suffice it to say, I’m excited for opening night next week. I think this is a really special show, and the cast is absolutely sensational.

Filed under Company Sondheim theater marriage

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Nostalgia Senses

I had the radio on in my car last week. I don’t normally do the radio. I hate ads and am addicted to my own music, but it was a lazy morning and I didn’t feel like putting in the effort to plug in my iPhone. The song that came up almost immediately was this gem by the Black Eyed Peas.

I’ve Gotta Feeling is not, per se, what you would call a good song. It doesn’t have particularly intelligent lyrics, nor is the melody very original or interesting. I mean, come on, the title isn’t even grammatically correct. But dammit if I don’t get a little bit happy when I hear that song because it pulls me into very distinct memories of spending my junior year in South Africa. We had a mix CD that we played basically anytime we went out, and this song was featured prominently on it. Possibly as track number one. It reminds me of getting dressed up and then cramming four or five of us into the backseat of a car and driving unsteadily off over huge speed bumps and through the security gate of Wits University. It gave a lot of wonderful possibility to every night out, which I suppose is what the song is trying to do. Normally I’m too jaded to give into that stuff, but I have a soft spot for this one.

Sounds and smells - are there any other things that can instantly transport you somewhere so completely? It’s why anytime I smell paint drying I think back to the kids theater I participated in from kindergarten through middle school. They had one stage that rose a tiny bit in height every year from the layers of paint smoothed over it for every production. In my head the walls and floor keep creeping towards each other as scores of children stumbled through the likes of Roald Dahl and EB White, from Shakespeare to Oklahoma, until eventually you will need a ladder to get up onto the stage, and it will only have room for a two person show. A simplified Waiting for Godot perhaps. How symbolic to set a piece with two men suspended in time on a stage that literally shows the passing of time through the uncomfortable dimensions of its space.

I’m sure they eventually scraped off the layers of paint to start again, but in my head it will just keep growing.

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Filed under memory South Africa theater sense triggers

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The Countdown

By my last count, there are about two and a half weeks of time between me and a sudden change of relationship status quo. This is also known as the fun process of turning something that has previously been really easy and amazing into something requiring a lot more effort, a lot more concentration, a lot more scheduling, and a lot more flying around in airplanes.

18 days to be exact.

I feel really lame blogging about this actually, but you’ll have to forgive me. I skipped this phase in middle school and high school. I was too busy being a complete and total spaz to bother with normal things like “having crushes” and “dating” and “making out in the backseat of your parents’ car before curfew.” Is that what the kids do these days? Maybe. I’m trying to wade through my adult version of it and I’m not sure how well I’m doing. But hey, I’m trying here. 

My biggest issue of course is that I’m a planner and this isn’t something I can plan for. I’ve become that person who will ask advice about long distance relationships from anyone. If a kindly stranger sat next to me on a bus stop and asked how my day was going I would probably be like “well, today’s been going okay, but I’m about to start a long distance relationship in about a month, so I’m worried about that. Have any advice?” I’d end up being that annoying person in a public area surrounded by strangers who tries to make a meaningful conversation out of what was supposed to be small talk. I think the only person who is allowed to get away with that is Forest Gump. And he’s fictional.

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How Enthusiasm Won Me An Apartment

When I was 9 I saw Annie for the first time. I feel like musical theater girls all have a similar experience centered around Annie. It’s something about seeing someone your age up there in lights and thinking, I can do that too! In fact, I’m amazing and super talented and too bad I didn’t go to that audition, because I would so totally be up there right now if I was! (Nine-year olds obviously think exclusively in exclamation points). Now that Matilda exists, there’s another show for girls to watch at an impressionable young age, but for me, it was Annie.

After seeing that show in its traveling run to Boston, I was convinced I too was born to play that role. So much so that I would belt The Sun Will Come Out throughout my house for weeks on end (sorry family), and outside in my yard. All of my neighbors definitely knew of my Broadway ambitions. They loved me for it… or not (the more likely option).

The Boston Globe had auditions listed in their calendar section every Thursday. Wait, do they still do this? I haven’t lived in Boston for awhile, maybe they stopped. I had no idea this existed until a fourth grade friend told me about them. They were having auditions for extras in the touring company of The Wizard of Oz and they were looking for kids my age to play a few munchkins in one of the shows in Boston. She told me she was planning on going and invited me along with her. And obviously this was going to be my big break, so how could I not go?

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Filed under Broadway Annie Matilda Tonys Madison apartment hunting

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This is my friend Jon Fuller. He’s going to be a rock star. 

…or you know, the same thing but with quieter, more contemplative music.

Jon. Come visit me in Madison. Music is very big here.