Thursday, November 27, 2008


I know it is not a Holiday shared around the world, but today is "Thanksgiving" in the US, and while on the surface it seems an opportunity to eat grotesque amounts of delicious, delectable, perhaps debilitating food - it does carry a much deeper meaning, once you've waded through all those buckets of gravy. I like the idea of having a day where you surround yourself with family, friends, or ideally both, break down the walls, and let your gratitude shine without reservation.

I've missed out on the past few Thanksgivings here as my dance card took me to Europe, which means now that I'm back Stateside and actually IN my hometown, I can once again break bread (and corn and turkey and cranberry and stuffing and pie!) with my family. This is a thing NOT to be taken for granted. Of course since it has been several years, the two empty chairs at the table where my parents used to sit will feel devastatingly empty, but with this being a day of "thanks", I get to remember how fortunate I was to enter into their family and be called their daughter.

Now the table rattles with the laughter of nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, in-laws, and abundant memories, and that is a beautiful thing. Even in a moment where there seems to exist an unending plethora of bad news for the world, I'm choosing to drown in beauty and laughter and music and love. I search out these things, working (hard!) to fill my mind with thoughts that make me smile, even as the worries of the world seem to belligerently continue knocking on the door.

Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you do, I thank you for reading and supporting me and wish you only the most wonderful things for your life and family!!! I plan on enjoying this last little feast before I storm back to work with a fury - do take your time and relish the moment, as well!! CHEERS!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"What are the best things about life?" "Just having one."

It was only brown rice with shrimp and broccoli in a peanut sauce, but there truly is nothing like getting to cook in your own kitchen, with your own knives and bowls (if you can remember where you've stored them the last time they came out of the dishwasher) for your husband in your very own apartment, together with him for the first time in said apartment since January. (That's 11 months, in case you don't feel like doing the math.) It's paradise. It will be over too quickly, I know, but just as I was starting to bemoan that fact, I caught this video, and was quickly brought back into line with tears of admiration and humility. On one hand, it's heart-wrenching to be sure. But on the other? Inspiring beyond words.

Please meet Brenden - an old soul who will undoubtedly inspire for years to come:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quiet time and my "gratitude year"

I've been enjoying some down time - it's been heavenly, truth be told - but I know that the engine is revving back up, so I've been sure to treasure the quiet time, hoping it will serve me well as my schedule takes off again. So much to catch up on, and since my time is a bit limited, it will be easier, perhaps through (a lot of) photos!!!

I had a ball during Beatrice and Benedict in Houston. Is it my favorite role ever? Well, no - but it was fun and fresh and a joy to play with a really wonderful cast.

Norman Reinhardt was a dashing and charming "Benedict", awfully fun to spar with on stage, and actually went along with dressing up for Halloween with me!

Ailish Tynan was a beautiful "Hero", and in addition to her stunning voice kept me laughing nearly the whole time!

I caught up with good friends, met some new ones, enjoyed feeling so "at home", and ate some fabulous meals. It's always hard to say goodbye to a wonderful experience, but knowing I'll be back is always comforting.

I'm currently in Madison, WI, for my husband's official American Debut, as he conducts "Madame Butterfly". It has been a total joy to watch the final week of rehearsals and to just be a wife! The production is STUNNING, and I predict will be a huge success. I was allowed to photograph some of the rehearsals which was a blast (and incredibly informative!), and if you like, you can see the photos here. If you're anywhere near the neighborhood, check it out - it will be a very special show.

Butterfly and Sorrow

Finally, it dawned on me that as of November 11, I have finished my unofficial "Year of Gratitude". My goal was to take a photograph every day of something I was grateful for. I managed, in truth, only 169 days, but considering my schedule, etc, I'll take it! It was a wonderful exercise, and even on the days I couldn't grab a photo, my awareness of the beauty around me grew by leaps and bounds. It was a kind of training in what I choose to see and focus on, and I anticipate that experience to stay with me every day.

So before the next round starts up (the FURORE tour, the NY concerts, etc, etc) I will finish up my Gratitude Journal with one of the first items I chronicled: my husband. I'm just grateful beyond words for him.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In a moment...

Just over 40 years ago, Martin Luther King proclaimed: "...I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal'. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character..."

Last night the American public fulfilled King's bold dream, and President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama picked up the torch and humbly declared: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

Regardless of your political leanings, regardless of how you may have voted, there is no denying that in the blink of an eye last night, The United States of America redeemed its promise of being a land where anything is possible, where anyone can realize their dream, and where centuries of wrongs were overcome.

What a beautiful moment.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Red pins and blue needles... what I'm on today. It's an astonishing thing to wake up and know that one of the most historic days in your lifetime is about to unfold. Red or blue results aside, the fact that Barack Obama went to the polls today to vote for himself to be the President of the United States of America is one of the most beautiful realizations of the "American Dream" that I've ever witnessed.

It's an old image, but a perfect capture of what I hope can happen today - regardless of who takes the White House (although I PASSIONATELY support my candidate), the only possibility in going forward is to be united:

Those wise Irishmen...