SNOW DAY!

Boy, we had a nice winter storm on Saturday. I mean, it wasn’t anything to write home about, in terms of winter storms – we’ve certainly had bigger, snowier, scarier, but this one was… Nice. (For me, anyway. I apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced by it.)

Since we already had rehearsal off for the day, Jeanne and I decided to just have a relaxing Snow Day, and almost the whole day was in pajamas and on the couch. We watched a little TV, we played Word Chums (it’s like Scrabble, and its on our phones), we did some napping and some reading. I’m nearing the end of The Beautiful Ones, the autobiography that Prince was working on with Dan Piepenbring when he passed away. It’s a moving and insightful look at the artist and his life, but it was barely begun when he passed, and so what Piepenbring was able to do with the book in his attempt to honor Prince’s wishes is lovely.

So, we did those things, I made some fantastic BLT sandwiches, I worked on my script for the show I’m directing (900 Miles to International Falls by Annie Martin), we had fun speaker-phone conversations with both kids and snuggled with the dogs. At one point we were all curled up on the couch. Jeanne was at one end, with FlipFlop (Schnoodle, curled up on her feet). I looked up from my book, took a drink of my coffee (decaf, almond milk), and petted Sneakers (Cockapoo, curled up on my legs). As I stroked her head, she let out one of the longest, most contented sighs I’ve ever heard. I nodded my head and said “I agree, Sneaks. Me too.”

We did wander out of the house in the evening: The Sun Theatre is a 10 minute walk from home into downtown Williamston, and their one screen was showing Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the Tom Hanks movie about Mr. Rogers. It was not at all what I was expecting, and we both enjoyed it a lot.

Snow Day. A little oasis of time. It was wonderful. In the craziness of life – running a theatre, directing a show, wrapping my brain around all the doctor stuff for my kidney transplant evaluation, paying bills and putting out the many metaphorical fires that we all find ourselves dealing with – having that day was a gift. Thanks, Universe, for the chance to catch my breath – and for the reminder that stopping to catch our breath once in a while is really, really important.

I hope you, if you’ve read this far, get a chance to slow down and catch your breath soon. In fact, if I can be bold – I’d encourage you to go ahead and MAKE the time. I think I’ll be doing it more often.

“Simplify, slow down, be kind. And don’t forget to have art in your life – music, paintings, theater, dance, and sunsets.” – Eric Carole

Pic Post Friday!

I had a wonderful quick getaway with my amazing wife Jeanne earlier this week.   We stole a couple days from the schedule and visited Saugatuck, Michigan.  We stayed in the fabulous Hidden Gardens bed-and-breakfast, where I now want to live year-round.

We spent a lot of time on Lake Michigan, at Oval Beach. Just beautiful.   Here’s the only pic I took at the beach!


To get to the beach, you have to take a short walk from downtown Saugatuck, across the Kalamazoo River.  This chain ferry is the way to cross and, according to the operator, it’s one of only a handful still in operation across the country!

Here is the guy cranking us across the river. Yes, when offered the chance, I did some cranking! Life is short, try stuff, celebrate everything!  😁


Jeanne and I had a great time, it was a wonderful relaxing couple of days. Downtown Saugatuck is adorable with lots of parks and little shops and great food. (If you go, don’t miss The Southerner, or Phil’s!)

This flower shop has the best name ever.

We also enjoyed some relaxing and great wine at a cool place called Borrowed Time…

 

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With life being crazy, and politics driving everyone nuts, and work being always busy, and Jeanne and the kids going back to school in a week…. a little breathing room with the most important person in my world was just perfect.

I hope you’re all able to carve out some hammock time, whatever your version is, before long.  These are the moments all the hard stuff should lead to. Don’t forget to take them.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.  

Clutter.  That’s been on my mind a lot lately.  Clutter of stuff both physical, and of the intangible.  The things we can’t touch, yet they weigh us down anyway.

When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.   –  Victoria Moran

I’ve been working to DO LESS.  This is new for me.  Juggling multiple projects, diving into things, saying YES to lots of stuff – that’s just always been how I did it.  That’s not bragging or anything, it’s just my history.  Now that I’m purposely making more time on my calendar for doing nothing, I’m finding myself thinking about the clutter in my world.  The basement full of junk that I move around, and move through, that I don’t really need… and how it gets in my way.  The subconscious thoughts that I let drive me because I’ve not let go of a frustration, or a grudge, or a jealousy.  The very CONSCIOUS thoughts that I dwell on when I should be letting them go because they’re not doing me, or the people around me, or the world any good at all.

The point is, you need to distinguish between what honestly moves you and what the world is telling you should melt your heart. If something doesn’t reach you on a personal level, let it go. It’s hard enough dealing with everything that does.  –  Judi Culbertson

It’s funny.  I had this thought very clearly the other night.  With family, at Hudson Mills metropark, spread out on blankets and looking up at the night sky, waiting for fireworks to begin.  My son and nephews were running around playing catch, my wife and I were relaxing on the ground with my mother and my daughter, just chatting. Max’s girlfriend Sophie was there, we were all laughing and just being there.  There were hundreds of people, all around, doing the same thing.  With my head resting in my wife’s lap, I found myself a little overwhelmed with emotion- not gonna lie, this happens to me more and more over the last few years.  I looked up at her and I said “I love tonight”.   She smiled, and bent down and kissed my forehead and said “Well good!  Me too.”

Just being there, listening to the people laughing and enjoying the night, was wonderful. The smell of the grass, the breeze blowing, kids running around everywhere being kids – as the night got darker the fireflies came out, and soon little kids all around us were chasing them, gathering them in their hands.  It was a beautiful, perfect LACK of clutter.

Clutter smothers. Simplicity breathes.  –  Terri Guillemets

And then the fireworks began.  The running around stopped and the “OOOOHS” and “AAAAAHHS” started as the world filled with color and sound.  Clapping and laughing, people announced their favorite firework.  Watching the faces of my family light up with reds and blues and whites, I couldn’t resist taking a picture:
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Lit by a big burst of white stars, my mother, wife and nephew have the same smile I had on my face.  Maggie does too, as she takes a photo of the fireworks to send to her friends in Finland!

The waste of life occasioned by trying to do too many things at once is appalling.
–  Orison Marden

The whole night was terrific.  One of those moments that is both a little thing and, at the same time, everything.  Later that night, at home, everyone camped out around the house to spend the night, I listened to the house settling down, kids falling asleep, dogs snoring, the occasional late-night-neighbor setting off a firecracker or twelve, and my mind drifted to my to-do list, and all the things that would need to be done the next day.  With a little effort, I pushed the thought away.  I could clear that clutter later.  This night?  This night was simple.

Out of clutter, find simplicity.  –  Albert Einstein

Tuesday Quotes: Getting through the day productively.

“Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is often a form of mental laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” – Tim Ferris

“If I’ve learned anything in my shaky life as an artist, it’s that you must stop talking and spinning and whining and start making your thing today. Pick up a camera. Pick up an easel. Open your laptop and turn off your Internet connection while you write. Find a starting point. Ignore the voices. Ignore the critics. Reward yourself for having ideas by valuing them enough to believe in them.” – Shane Nickerson

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Monday Night Quotes: Simplicity

After a great weekend of previews for The Understudy, and a nice night playing games with my family, I’m reminded of the importance of simplicity. (It seems to be a recurring theme in the giant pile of things I keep learning and re-learning over and over!)

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.
-Hans Hofmann

Seek simplicity but distrust it.
-Alfred North Whitehead

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.
-Alan Perlis

Simplicity is natures first step, and the last of art.
-Philip James Bailey

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