Thursday, January 31, 2013


Blog, it's at this time of the night that I start missing home and wish that I were back up in the frigid Minnesota air. I don't care how bitter it is, I shouldn't be able to wear a t-shirt outside like I did today.

But I did wear a t-shirt outside and it was wonderful. The sun shone inbetween the kind of clouds your mind finagles into various animals on a summer's day and we drove on winding roads through Carolinian forests. It's not strange that this is my life now. It's strange that it's not strange that this is my life now. Each night is a new hotel, preferably Microtel (they have window seats that allow you to comfortably look over their parking lots). Each day hundreds of children point and laugh at me and Andy. He is really the only constant I have in my life. It's him and our car, Forrest Gimp. Everything else is dictated by what we have on our schedule. Tonight I'm in a Target Starbucks on the outer edge of Gastonia, NC. I think it's by Charlotte, but it doesn't matter. Everyone has that drawl that hasn't lost its charm, but isn't as novel as it was when I first arrived just a few weeks ago. I've settled into tour. They told me this would happen by week three. I anticipated this would happen by week three. And now it's week three and it's everything I thought it would be, yet I can't quite grasp that this is my daily reality.

Like, wearing this hat isn't weird at all. Seriously. 
During yesterday's show, a little girl asked me what would happen if the sun died while I was recapping what we could use for renewable resources. Today I felt a wisp of a hug around my waist and realized it just in time to see my admirer run off and join her friends. This morning I had a volunteer by the name of Alberto try and ward off Andy's evil villain with the sign I asked him to hold. All in a day's work.

But after we pack up our set and settle into whatever hotel we've managed to find, I'm perusing Facebook and reading emails and am seeing what I've missed. Friends are having babies, my band is performing without me, and my niece just turned two. It's hard, and I can't imagine being here without an internet lifeline to home. The other night Andy observed that I'm not really missing home in the sense of longing, but I'm instead missing it as a part of myself. He was right. I feel like there is a part of me that must remain dormant until I return. Five more weeks and I'll be there, and of course once that rolls around I'm sure I'll be bitching and moaning about all the North Carolinian idiosyncrasies that are no longer a part of my life. We can't have it all, I guess.

For now, I'll just look longingly at this.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I Miss You, Minneapolis

I miss home, Blog. This isn't the first time I've been away from the place I live for a chunk of time, but it's the first time I've been away from a group of people who I tend to include in my every day life. I get that I left my mom and brother when I went to college way back in the day, but that's different. They were just down the road a couple of hours. I knew I could go back whenever I wanted. Plus, I had better things to do than sit in North Dakota and try to fit in with a culture I wasn't meant to fit in with.

I studied abroad in Europe for two months when I was a junior in college. I went the furthest from home I've ever been during that trip. I saw things I never thought I'd see. But I experienced the whole thing with an established group of friends; with people with whom I had cultivated friendships after I left my family in North Dakota. They were the people who are still some of my closest friends today. I got to bring home with me during that trip.

And while I'm still in the good ole USA, I feel far away from the things I love. Don't get me wrong, Blog, I'm totally happy with this decision. I'm not regretting it at all. Every day is different. I get to make kids laugh and I get to be on stage. I get to hang out with my old and dear friend Andy pretty much 24/7. We have numerous belly laughs every single day and have already collected a myriad of inside jokes that only we understand. "Do you remembah?" "Rob is requesting songs for us." and "What if the bands White Snake and Ratt played a concert together?" are daily quips that we throw at one another. Not to mention the whole "Moon Shadow" thing that happened over this past weekend with the acting buddies we saw.

But home is where the heart is and my heart is in Minneapolis. I knew this even before I left, but what I didn't realize is that there is a whole community of people there that I was just getting to know as I was packing my bags. Now my Facebook page is littered with status updates and event invites that I am unable to take non-cyber action on. All I can do is watch from a distance and know that I'll one day be back in the city that has everything I want. Friends and theatre and music and lakes and even a little bit of family. The South has been quite hospitable (people here are kind and curious and also bewildered by our accents) but it's not home. I don't do chicken and biscuits. I am afraid of the ocean (even though I love going to the beach) and call me crazy, but I'm feeling pretty weird about missing the cold snap that just happened. It made me realize that I've never missed a cold snap before. While it was a balmy 12 degrees in Minneapolis today, I took the liberty of running a couple miles outside this evening. Running outside in January is something I don't do. And while it was great and freeing and felt wonderful to exercise today, it's not home here. Home doesn't let me go outside with ease during this time of year, and if it does, it's a special day that everyone appreciates with a quaint insanity that causes them to rollerblade in short shorts even though it's still below freezing outside.

The Wizard of Oz was right. There's no place like home. March is going to both rush me and tease me with unemployment and the second round of best friends that I've made thus far. I'm looking forward to you, Minneapolis. Please hold a spot for me until I come back.

And when in doubt, put a cherry on it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

A State of Suprise

There are fifty states in this country, Blog. Each one tries to come up with a phrase or nickname that differentiates itself from the rest, but let's be honest; some stand out more than others. We hear about New York in all the movies. California is where those movies are made. Colorado is where the mountains are and Florida is where you go when you're old. Texas is full of cowboys and Arizona is where you find the desert. Massachusetts is where you eat lobster and Wisconsin is where you drink milk. For me, these are the generalizations I've made about my country for my entire life. I've visited just some of those places. A majority of the states are still a mystery to me even though I've made my assumptions about them.

As for North Carolina, I never really gave this place much thought. I didn't even realize it fell into the category of the "South". It always has fallen just before my home (and the incredibly interesting) state of North Dakota in the alphabetical lists that you use when you're filling out your address on websites and such. But here I am, in a seedy hotel in the dangerous part of Greensboro (this will happen when you're simultaneously on a tight budget and have no idea where you are). I've learned over the past week that just because the word "North" is in this state's name, it's anything but. There's a drawl in everyone's speech. Chicken and biscuits are everywhere. I think I saw a plantation the other day. And there is a town called Tobaccoville just down the road.

But besides the stereotypical southern stuff, there are surprises here too. This weekend Andy and I visted Wilmington and met up with another two-actor troupe who is also down here. We had a blast celebrating Andy's birthday with Catch Phrase, delicious French food, and magnificent karoake. Not only that, but we went to the beach yesterday. It felt strangely reminiscent of Florida. I had no idea that North Carolina had palm trees and sandy beaches, Blog. It was beautiful.

So after an evening of beaching and chatting with two very fine ladies (one who hails from St. Louis and the other from DC; neither place of which I've ever visited), I realized that this North Carolina place is pretty amazing. I would have never known it had I never taken the plunge.

I also have never driven to the ocean before, Blog. It's pretty cool to think that we've put a solid 2000 miles on the rental we have dubbed "Forrest Gimp" (per the flat tire we got a mere 200 miles away from home). I miss Minneapolis something fierce right now, but I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Now let's hope I don't get shanked in this Econo Lodge. I was told that I shouldn't go outside after dark in these parts.

That doesn't mean I won't live it up at dusk on the beach however.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Southern Snow

Blog, brace yourself for snowpocalypse, North Carolina style. Tonight's forecast calls for 31 degrees and heavy snow. An accumulation of 1 to 3 inches is expected. Schools are canceling evening activities and there is potential for our shows to cancel tomorrow as well. Andy says everything has potential to close; even grocery stores. I'm confused, scared, and amused by this.

I also am confused, scared, and amused by the giant dresser that is making up part of the building I am in right now.

Someone please tell me what happened to my life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The South Hath Charmed Me

It's only been four days since we last caught up, Blog, but it seems like so much longer. I guess when you have all sorts of things going on even the short time of a few days ago seems almost like a lifetime. We've made it to the south. Somehow the dialect has changed along the interstate that brought us here. I got out of the car in West Virginia yesterday and was suddenly surrounded with a charming drawl. Where did this come from? I shouldn't be surprised since all the learners I would talk to at Capella were from the south, most notably North Carolina. Still, it's different to hear it in person. It's also different to be driving through these mountains and hills. Andy says this is what Scotland looks like, so we put on some bagpipe tunes as we wound through tiny towns and past rundown shacks yesterday as we were getting into our first stop of Galax, Virginia. I've never been to a place like this. It's weird, Blog.

Look at all that crazy weirdness. It's all over the place, Blog. I can't even handle it.

You know what else is weird? Kids, Blog. They are weird in an amazing way. They hold no judgement. Only awe and wonder and joy. Today I hugged roughly seven children at once. It was so much fun. They all wanted to high five me and touch my hands. They all knew my name and said their sweet little farewells and "bah's" to me as they filed out of the gym after we were done. "Open your eyes, be energy wise". Think of that phrase with a southern accent. Now think of it being shouted at you by hundreds of tiny voices with a southern accent. Can't. Even. Handle. It.

Then there was the little girl who raised her hand in response to Andy asking what they thought the show was going to be about. "I'm gonna sleep over at my grandma's house." Oh man, Blog. It's so cute I could cry.

Tonight I'm in Mount Airy, NC. It's actually my first night in North Carolina since last night we stayed in Virginia. Did you know that Mount Airy is the birthplace of Andy Griffith? Well now you do. You'd know it if you ever ended up here, Blog. Everything downtown is Mayberry Toys, Mayberry Cafe, Mayberry Museum... Who knew a TV town would make such an impact on the names of a real town's businesses? There's also an Andy Griffith Parkway and an Andy Griffith museum. Andy (Browers, not Griffith) and I wanted to check it out tomorrow, but we're off to another part of the state for some last minute shows. Fortunately we did a tiny bit of exploring and found a Mexican restaurant across the way with an indecipherable name and $3.00 margaritas. I learned that "Texas Style" means an extra shot of tequila (not the hard way, thankfully). I also learned that Mexican restaurants in Mount Airy, North Carolina are the bomb diggity yo.

But I have to admit that while driving through these beautiful hills and allowing myself to be charmed by the accents, it's not home here. I miss Minneapolis and seeing my friends in person and not over Facebook. It just takes getting used to I guess. I'm looking forward to the day when I've settled into this very unsettled life.

For now, I'll continue to figure out how to boil eggs in hotel rooms.
Until then, more shows and children this week and then off to Wilmington for Andy's birthday. It's going to be a good one. I'll keep you updated on any mechanical bull adventures we run into, Blog.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Big Tour: Tired (It's a Pun. Read This and You'll See Why.)

Well Blog, I've done it. I've escaped the humdrum desk job life that once consumed me and am wrapping up day one of what has become known as "big tour". We had plans for Rockford, Illinois tonight, but a suddenly-leaky tire held us up in the appropriately-named Hixon, Wisconsin. I was hoping it was a slow leak, but alas Blog, I could hear the air hissing out of the tire immediately after filling it up. In moments, our pressure was at a sad zero pounds per square inch, and we were stuck amongst truckers and Sconnies alike in a quiet cafe that serves GIANT chocolate malts.

Here's where I wish I had skills, Blog. I should know how to change a tire, but I don't. It is a basic process, but the last time I attempted to remove a lug nut, it was rusted on so tight not even my super strong and manly boyfriend at the time was unable to loosen it. In the end, it ended up stripped and swearing ensued.

Of course I'm going to assume removing a tire from a 1992 Mercury Topaz is a bit of a different experience than removing one from a brand new Toyota Camry, but I wasn't about to dive in to find out for myself. Not in my tired and hungover state (turns out my last night in Minneapolis was a friend/bar hopping extravaganza... totally worth it). Plus we're traveling for business, so this sort of a thing is taken care of for us.

Here's the part where I would post the sad picture I took of the deflated tire, but you're not having it for some reason, Blog. Are you not feeling up to uploading images this evening? I've never run into this problem with you before. Then again, I've never really run into having a low tire in the middle of Wisconsin, or missing the exit to our hotel in the middle of Wisconsin, or having faulty hotel keys once we finally checked in to the hotel that is in the middle of Wisconsin. Maybe it's not you, Blog. Maybe all of this has something to do with the middle of Wisconsin.

I still don't feel like I'm gone from home for the next two months. Probably because I'm only about 50 miles away from Winona right now. Yup. Winona. We didn't even make it to the actual middle of Wisconsin.

Still I love that my job has turned into finagling websites to find tire places that are open on a Saturday morning. I also love that my current job makes small children laugh and squeal with joy. Children are amazing, Blog. I had no idea. I could go on, but I'll save it for another day.

Here's to hoping we actually make it to Chicago tomorrow to see the one Goblirsch Jr. wow us with his Macbeth skills. I like to think I'm getting all the hairy stuff out of the way with this touring thing on my first day.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

So Far, I Like 2013

Happy New Year Blog! So far 2013 has been superb. I had my first rehearsal with the NTC today and had a tough time believing that running around yelling about conserving energy and electricity has become my new job. I get to do it again tomorrow. And the next day and the day after that and even the day after that. I'll be doing it until March. It will become just like any monotonous job, but it will be one based in the things I love (that would be primarily the theatre arts, but I'm also a fan of energy conservation I guess). And then I will get to come back to this wonderful city that I love more and more each time I return to it. Tonight I walked along Lyndale Avenue and realized there have been a number of stages I've been on in this city. It's nothing out of the ordinary and I know a plethora of people who have done more than I have here, but for me it's a personal best. Even though I've been here for a solid six years, I still appreciate the novelty of living in Minneapolis. It's still a city to me, even though the social circles I run in can be sometimes painfully small. Perhaps it's the perfect mix of city and small town that has made me fall in love with it.

Perhaps I'm gushing over Minneapolis because I missed it after I came back from I like to call "mini tour" with my tour family where we visited five states in five days and spread ridiculous comedy to the masses. I saw enough stand up comedy to last me the rest of 2013 on this tour, Blog. I feel like I've been capitalizing on my burnt-out reaction to this. Though I also feel like I've been spending a somewhat obscene amount of time with comedians since I've been back, so it's to be expected. I've found that they are, very appropriately, easy to make fun of. There are many of them and each one thinks they are the shit. It's kind of amazing. It also kind of makes me want to take the microphone out of their hands and hit them over the head with it because, frankly, I'm sick and tired of hearing their exasperated breathing amplified over your general bar chatter as they lead into yet another joke about how sorry of a person they are.

Sure that sounded really mean, Blog, but that's how comedians roll. They like to poke fun at not only the mundane moments life has to offer (I mean what IS up with this box of wine I've been drinking? Can we get some class in this glass?), but also each other... I think. And while I'm no stand up (read previous paranthetical joke to find out why), I might as well enjoy the amusement I get out of making fun of people; especially if they're into making fun of other people themselves.

With that, I leave this great place that is crawling with comedians for two months on Friday. A week from now I'll be sharing a wonderful evening with good friends Will and Andy in Chicago; preparing for a drive to Appalachia the next day.

Remember a few weeks ago when I had a maddening desk job, Blog? Yeah, me neither.