Monday, 31 December 2007

My organization skills were not learned in a classroom

Yesterday we went to a pantomime. For those outside the UK this may bring images of non-speaking actors with white faces but it's nothing like that. Pantomimes are a very British Christmas tradition - they are fairy tale plays with music, lots of silliness and audience participation. Nearly every town has one and the bigger pantos sometimes have famous people in the cast. The scripts are totally silly, the costumes incredibly over the top (especially for the men that are dressed like women: the panto dames) and the whole thing is harmless fun for everyone but kids especially seem to love it.

We went to see Cinderella at our local theater and while it is put together by amateurs, the evening was very entertaining and I even got a little emotional when the Fairy Godmother turned a pumpkin into a sparkly coach and turned Cinderella's rags to a poofy ball gown. It was very, very sweet. I think Samuel even enjoyed some of it!

Another British Christmas tradition is holiday TV. There have been lots and lots of specials and other kinds of shows on TV - not all good but an awful lot of the ones I've been watching seem to include music from the musicals and other theater-related themes. For some reason I've also been listening to a lot of music from the musicals lately... and all of this has inevitably reminded me of those days, long ago, when I practically lived in a theater.

During High School and College whenever I wasn't in a classroom or at home I could normally be found in the theater. I was never really very good for the performance side of it (although I did get a couple of small roles and even danced in some musicals) but I was very, very happy to work backstage. I loved it all: the teamwork, the preparation, the rehearsals, the long nights of tech rehearsals and of course the buzz of show nights. I think I did nearly every job available backstage - from props to makeup, costume, lights and audio - and every single show taught me something.

I tended to help out mainly in musicals and revues but I also worked in some "straight" theater shows. All of these shows definitely taught me a thing or two about talent, about hard work and about working to a deadline. I also made some of my dearest friends in the theater and whenever we get together we have the most amazing amount of silly stories to remember from those days.

I guess I miss it but of course I've moved on and the theater has now become yet another of those things that is in my past and feels like a part of another life I lived a long time ago. But when I was sitting in that audience waiting for the panto to start, I could remember the buzz I used to get minutes before the show would start, I would remember all those crises that we had seconds to fix and all those friendships that started among cordless mikes and sequined gowns.

I guess you can take the girl out of the theater...

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Dear Diary...

I haven't done much scrapbooking lately.

I think that it's a combination of having too much on, not enough inspiration and, quite frankly, that I've been spending my time on other things (like running and messing around on Facebook). But I have been writing on my journal, which I hadn't really done in a good loooong time.

I often wonder if it's worth still keeping a journal when almost everything I do these days is documented in blogs, in scrapbook layouts and even in emails. If scrapbooking is about leaving a legacy, then I definitely have that covered! I like to believe that in some distant future someone will sit down and read all my journals and albums and be able to put together a great portrait of what I was like, what my life was like and what I was all about.

So yes, sometimes I think it's time to ditch the journal and move on to all the other media I have embraced. But then I take out the book, the pen and something happens... I open my soul to a blank page. Somehow I can't quite do this on my layouts or blog because there is something about ink and paper and my handwriting that brings out my deepest secrets.

Also, on a more practical level, my journal is truly private: for my eyes only. It has always been this way and even though others have read parts (and sometimes without my permission) I still consider those words to be between me and myself. So there's no point pretending and hiding things I want to be kept hidden but rather I use the paper to explore those ideas, describe my dreams and maybe even vent a little.

I know scrapbookers that write a lot of personal stuff on their layouts and I applaud them (especially as those layouts are often in magazines!) but I can't do that. I will open my soul a little and perhaps record a special thought or two, but some memories are best kept private or, even, secret.

So even though I don't journal as often as I used to, I have kept it going. It's good for me and I actually quite like it. Yes, it's also risky to have private thoughts on such an accessible format but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Do you remember last year's resolutions?

This year seems to be flying past and we’ve only got a few more days left before we change over to 2008 – and I inevitably mess up a few cheques because I’ll use the wrong year on them. As it’s traditional, this time of year people will make well-intentioned resolutions and I am no exception. I still don’t really know what I want to promise I’ll do but I have a few days yet to come up with something.

Before I do, though, I want to look back on last year’s resolution – it was only one and I only came up with it sometime in mid-January but it still counts. Amazingly, I can still remember what it was and even more impressively, I have pretty much kept it. I’m talking of course about my running and the marathon coming up in Jan 08.

I can still remember the moment when the light bulb went on in my head and I decided that this was something I wanted to do. I had little idea of how much work would go into it but I had tons of determination. If there is one thing that I am, that is stubborn and there is nothing like others’ lack of faith to propel me forward.

So this year has definitely been filled with those that thought I would quickly forget this and move on to the next idea, or those that thought that there was NO WAY I would continue training once the weather turned horrible. Well, even though summer was non-existent, I still logged my miles and kept going. Even after a pretty disastrous half-marathon and the pounding that my self-belief took, I carried on. There have been way too many days when getting on my kit and running out the door has been hard work but I did it. There also have been those days when it’s been a joy to be out there, running, walking or whatever and to know that every step I take takes me closer to my goal of completing the WDW marathon next January.

The race is about two weeks away now and although I am pretty nervous I am also quietly confident – I know I can do it. I may not be a pretty sight at the end but I can do this and I WILL get my Mickey medal and show it off for… well, the rest of my life I guess. If I have to crawl on my hands and knees I will get to that finish line and I will claim my place as an athlete and a marathon finisher.

It will be pretty hard to come up with another New Year’s resolution that I can not only keep but even remember 12 months down the line… and no, I will not run the marathon next year. I need a break!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

I think I like this place!

After thinking about it for a while, I've finally moved my blog to here. It wasn't that I disliked the old place but, like often happens, I've outgrown it and need some more room to move about, store my junk and be able to relax a bit more.

So here I am now on Blogger - welcome to me.

Christmas is now over and I'm still taking some days off until the new year. It feels so weird to not be at work: I've never had Christmas off so I'm not actually sure what to do with myself! Samuel is off with his grandparents, David's working so I have the house all to myself and it's a weird experience. So instead of doing what I always do (scrapbook and clean the house) I decided to spend the time migrating my old blog posts to my new site, get it all clean and ready for the thousands (yeah right) of visitors that will be interested to read what I have to say.

So while I'm destined for unrivalled success in the blogosphere (yeah right AGAIN) I won't let it go to my head and I will always remember that this blog is always just about the words: not the graphics, photos or any other technological wizardries, but just about those things that I want to say.

I have said it before: I've always dreamed of being a writer. So I will write.

Thursday, 20 December 2007


Gosh – has it been nearly a month!?
As my three readers know, things have been a bit hectic lately but at least now my OU course is finished so that’s one less thing to worry about! I have, however, less than a month until the WDW marathon… yikes.
Training has been going well, at least until about two weeks ago. I had been managing to put in the 4 to 5 runs a week that I needed to do and my longer runs were getting longer and longer. Then a combination of poor weather-workload-life got in the way and I’m now lucky if I get in 3 runs a week.
But, I’ve been training diligently for nearly a year now so a few missed runs, in the grand scheme of things, are not a huge deal. Sure, I feel terrible because I ought to be trying my hardest to get these runs in but in reality I’ve done the bulk of the training and other than one very long run, I’m nearly at the taper.
There have been times when I question my sanity in running 42km, usually when I’m in the middle of a ridiculous 20k run in the rain, freezing cold. I must admit that there have been times when I didn’t think I could do it but deep down I have always known that I can do this: and I will.
I have even bought all my marathon scrapbooking embellishments for my album already so I gotta do the race now or else I won’t get to use them!
In a little over 3 weeks I will be joining 15,000 of my closest friends for some fun and frolics around the 4 Disney theme parks. I am still not sure what state I will be in when it’s all over (upright at least, I hope) but I do know that it will be an experience and in the end I will have learned something about myself.
Will I carry on running? Who knows. It does take time and effort, not to mention the right equipment and mental attitude. But in a small way I think I shall miss my little runs and my time alone.
Wish me luck!
Ps. There’s still time to sponsor me: or (US site)


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