Monday Night Quotes… Family

In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. ~Lao Tzu

This weekend was full of Quality Family Time, and I’m very grateful for it! It’s been a wonderful, busy few weeks, especially the last two, as I’ve been overlapping rehearsals for The Understudy at Williamston Theatre and Ernie at the City Theatre. As I was driving between the two shows, and back to my house to be with my wife and kids, I was thinking about the different families we create in our lives. It’s always been one of the things I loved most about working in the theatre, the way each production becomes its own family. Designers regularly get the chance to work on multiple shows at a time, but as a director I haven’t often had the opportunity, and going back and forth between several versions of a family with different goals, values, traditions, expectations, all on the same day, has been a lot of fun. Not just fun, though, but also a reminder that in order to succeed, you have to be fully present, listening, open to the moment. It’s a real gift to have one or more “families” to call home.

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~Jane Howard

It was nice to take all of Saturday and most of Sunday, though, and be with my wife and kids, as well as my parents, siblings and their families! We celebrated birthdays and an early Mother’s Day, played games, ate good food, laughed and generally had a great time. We stood there, 3 generations of a family, and as we were posing for a picture I thought “Where did all of this come from!?”. We stood there for the picture, my parents in front and Dominic and Gina and I behind them, Dom and I on the sides with Gina in the middle, just like when we were kids in the backseat, and my parents were in the front seat driving us on one of the thousands of car trips we went on; singing songs as we headed to A&W for root beer floats, or a visit with cousins, or camping. And now, here we are, in that same formation… with a few additions!

It’s amazing how quickly that seems to have happened. And how MUCH seems to have happened. And yet, there are the constants: family stories that never fail to make us laugh, the same jokes about the same topics, the one-liner that will only make sense to my brother and sister and I, but send us into hysterics about a moment from 30 years ago.

I know all of this will pass. It will, it’ll pass into family lore as we all fade away… and the thing I hope most of all is that we, Jeanne and I, can give to our kids enough laughter, love, memories and stories to last a few generations past us – the way our parents have – so that even if our stories don’t last forever, the impact of them will.

Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted. ~Paul Pearshall

Wednesday Pic Post:

A ballpark is a magical place, don’t you think? It stops time. It’s a place where a father and son can sit together on a lazy afternoon enjoying the game and decades later, in those same seats, that son can sit with his son, and it’s as if nothing’s changed. Time moves differently inside a ballpark.
-Ernie Harwell, from Ernie by Mitch Albom

…we had a press conference for Ernie, and our Stage Manager Megan took this shot from the booth! Press Conferences are odd things, and I don’t do them often, so it was fun.

Speaking of baseball…
Last night we played some catch in the yard! Awesome.

Speaking of awesome things, The Town Pump has awesome fried pickles, and lunch today was pretty darned great.

We start rehearsal for this show next week, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a long time since I’ve been onstage, and I’m anxious to work out those muscles again!

So, challenges, opportunities, quality family time… a week full of reminders that all of those are important. Thanks, Universe.

Wednesday’s Non-Theatre Pic Post!

Buffy fans…Hilarious.

Yesterday, my poor wife had “one of those days.” You know, the ones we all have once in a while, where things don’t go well, random people are jerks, and you just want to either crawl under a rock or punch something, or both? Well, the kids found out, and before she got home they set up a big relaxing pile of pillows and blankets in front of the tv, with the newest episode of her favorite show on Netflix, the room lit with just candles, some chocolate and a glass of wine ready for her!
And of course the pic is dark because it’s just candles, but doesn’t she look relaxed? 🙂 My kids are awesome.

Speaking of kids, my daughter was feeling crafty, and made me a case for my iPad out of felt, colored duct tape, and some magnets!
What a kid.

This pic is here because it’s amazing…click to embiggen and get the full effect!

April 1, 2012. Mount Etna spews volcanic ash during an eruption on the southern Italian island of Sicily. (From Time Magazine)

Lastly, this came from my brother. He knows me well.

Pic Post Sunday: Celebrating Life!

Random pics from a Dad, director, baseball fan, celebrating some good things on this beautiful Sunday!

Today, we had a great Easter! The kids had a great time hunting baskets and eggs this morning, the Easter Bunny did a nice job hiding things this year!

Speaking of Easter – Maggie and I spent Easter afternoon at the ballpark! 🙂

And… speaking of baseball…

I’m happy to be in rehearsals for the remount of Ernie at the City Theatre in Detroit.

This weekend, we had a great time visiting our friends Crystal and Steve, and I had to take a picture of these desserts that we made. Crystal did all the prep, making the mousse and homemade whipped cream and slicing the fruit, but Steve and I were given the task of putting them together – and this is what they looked like! Chocolate coffee mousse, lots of fresh fruit, shaved chocolate… oh man, now I want another one. Or 7.

Lastly… I worked with a great stage manager, Sam, this weekend on a project in NYC, and she came in with this shirt that made us all laugh, and I had to share it. (Warning – yes, this is a little risque. Skip it if that’s not your thing, but this type of humor is exactly my thing… and I suppose if you’re a regular reader of this journal, you already know that!)

Have a great week, folks, and whatever you’re doing this week, have fun doing it.

Pic Post Wednesday

First, since it’s Ash Wednesday, I’ll start with a couple of fun things relating to that:

This made me laugh.  (In a related note, THIS IS HERE ALSO.)


I made this on the fun iPad app Skitch, because, well, it also made me laugh!


Last night was first rehearsal for The Usual, at Williamston Theatre.  This isn’t a great pic, but I forgot to take more!  You can see, in the theatre seats, a couple of our Production Assistants (who will also appear as chorus in this show) – Carolyne and Brandon.  Also Dana Brazil the choreographer, Alex our apprentice, and Chris Purchis (WT Managing Director.)  Onstage left to right are Stef Din (Stage Manager) and the cast: Joe Zettelmaier, Emily Sutton-Smith and Leslie Hull.


I mentioned a while back that Max was building a trebuchet for Science Olympiad.   His regional meet has come and gone, and today we did some modifications to the trebuchet, and he’ll start charting the distances and weights again!  Here we are in the school gym experimenting this evening before dinner!

And, because it’s fun, here’s a video of the first test fire where, thanks to the improvements we made, it works even better than we predicted!

Darn, now that I’ve listened to the video, it’s hard to hear Max explain it.  He says “Okay, this is a 2 kilogram counterweight and a 38 gram projectile on an awesomely modified trebuchet!  3-2-1 Launch!”

And another Wednesday has passed!

Pic Post Wednesday

A big mix of pics today!

It’s fun to look at what the bookshelf of an 11-year old boy contains. Old roller skate, tiny metal robot, picture of himself as a baby, microscope, train whistle, Charlie Brown/Detroit Tigers bobblehead, plastic bin containing eyebolts…and a bunch of other fun things.

The Williamston Theatre is in…well, Williamston…which is also known, in slang by the local youth, as Billtown. This graffiti on the back of our theatre is, rather than bothersome, inspiring in a couple of ways… ways that will be revealed later in our season.

Dinner tonight – chorizo/potato/scrambled egg tortillas! SO good. Recipe from the great blog Two Good Eggs

This is for all the sci-fi nerds out there, and it makes me laugh!

Anyone else ever have a Family Movie Night where you rent a DVD, but still go to the movie theatre to get two large buckets of popcorn with butter?

Props from old productions: Decorating Scene Shops since…forever!

I love this shot – Saturday morning in bed with the family! Jeanne’s reading, the kids are playing a game on the iPad… Lots of relaxing and snuggling, the way a weekend morning should be.

Sunday Night Quotes: Parenting

Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence. -Plato

Every cliche about kids is true; they grow up so quickly, you blink and they’re gone, and you have to spend the time with them now. But that’s a joy. -Liam Neeson

Fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise. -Allan Bloom

Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you. -H. Jackson Brown

(“Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to do in life”, I said.)
Yeah…but that’s what I have you for. -Maggie Caselli