#3 – Michelle

Smart and sassy, Michelle is one of my longest friends.  We met doing community theatre and I was amazed with her positive spirit, grace, and beautiful voice.

She moved away for university and then spent what felt like forever building a career for herself, eventually starting her own ESL school in Japan.  Needless to say keeping in touch was difficult.

Her life hasn’t always been easy but she’s strong, determined, and fierce.

Sadly, she forgets how amazing she is sometime.  I take it upon myself to remind her as often as I can.

She’s recently moved back to Canada and will be (any second now) embarking on her biggest challenge yet… motherhood.  I can only imagine how excited and terrified she must be.  I know I was.  She’ll be living in Toronto once the baby’s born and, while I know that’s where her heart is leading her, I can’t help but be a bit sad that distance will come between us again.

Through ups and downs, her smile is always contagious.   Warm, creative, caring and exuberant, Michelle will be an amazing mom. Though our time in the same city has been brief, and I haven’t taken advantage of it like I should have, I plan on making sure she regularly knows how wonderful she is and how much I love her.

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Day 284-287 Growing Up (Or Not)

Day 284 – This little bit of beauty was a big deal to me:   I turned 31. To say that my thirties have been an, um,  adventure so far is a gross understatement.  Raised as an only child having only met my 1/2 sister 13 years ago, I always looked forward to birthday for the attention and presents. Strangely, I really didn’t want a huge amount of hoopla this year and I think that’s a good thing.  It takes a lot of confidence for me to not want to make a big deal out of what is usually my “super special day”.  Was I overwhelmed by the amount of Facebook comments and Tweets wishing me a great day?  Yes.  It was marvelous.  But overall I was content in myself, which didn’t need outside validation.

Day 285 – One of the reasons why my neighborhood rocks:  After it rains, the reflection of the bright red fall leaves on the trees lining my street make it look like the puddles are made out of pink water!

Day 286 –

Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make THEIR eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.

– Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

Day 287 – There’s something in the whole “fake it ’til you make it” idea.  I committed to helping my Mom with a community theatre musical she’s directing.  I promised her I’d come up with choreography for a particular dance number.  My dream was always to be a dancer, but I never pursued it… mostly because I don’t think I would have “made it”.  Oh sure, I can dance probably better than most, but I’m nothing spectacular. I equate it to my dropping OAC calculus because I was getting a 75% and didn’t want to bring my average down.  I gave up dancing as my main source of artistic inspiration in favor of the theatre, and finally, directing.  I think I made the right choice.

But still, I had to be a choreographer for the day.  And a good one.  Because my mom is notorious for talking me up.  To some of these people, I’m a big shot director from the Nation’s capital.  To me, I’m just… me.  But I digress.

I was having trouble coming up with choreo, but with a little help from my hubby, I felt inspired.  And when I got to rehearsal the next day, I walked into the room like I was the best damn choreographer there ever was (minus the huge ego, of course) and taught a 4 minute dance number in less than 3 hours.  And these people are “amateurs”!  And I have it on good authority that they choreography stuck!  They remembered it.  They are still having fun with it.

I went in there wanting to give those 8 women the confidence to execute the number with sass and power.  I had no idea that would rub off on me too.

Day 217 – Kindred Spirits

I love watching these two.  They work so amazingly well together.  Not only are they supremely talented, but they genuinely love what they do.  This is something my Mom often jokes about when talking about doing theatre:  “If it ain’t fun, I ain’t doin it.”  I firmly believe that my mom is loved so much by the audiences that watch her is because she truly enjoys every moment she has on stage.  That kind of love and joy is contagious.

These guys are contagious too.

Day 164-187 – The Joy of Fringe (a photo post)

First of all, apologies for the excessively overdue post.  I had every intention of keeping up with my blog during the beast that was thel 2010 Ottawa Fringe Festival, but the excitement (and exhaustion) got to me.

This past month of June was the biggest in the history of my career.  I may not have made my directorial début at Stratford, but being the big boss behind what I feel is one of the best festivals in Ottawa was a huge event for me.  The Fringe helped launch my career in the first place.  I was (and am still!) honored to be its current Executive Producer.

I barely had time to breathe after our media launch on June 1st and my busy-ness factor only went up as the weeks progressed.  I was working 15 hours days most of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of it but I’m grateful now for the down time so I can think back on how amazing the experience was.

So now, for your viewing pleasure, here’s a photo post of just some of the beauty that was the 2010 Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Posters for Fringe productions on the fence outside Arts Court.

The normally quiet office is insanely busy during the festival itself. The craziness makes me happy.

Past Executive Producer Kevin Waghorn passing on the torch on opening night.

The Ottawa Fringe has the best volunteers. And I dare anyone to disagree with me.

Seeing Miss Hiccup in full costume and makeup always brought a smile to my face.

Cat and Brad brought laughter, information, promotion, sexiness and silliness in one big bundle called Chats with Cat Hosted by Brad.

Not only is Jon Lockhart an amazing Technical Director, but he is the greatest at creating a good photo-op!

Kilts are awesome.  Volunteers and Fringe technicians wearing kilts are even better.

Three beautiful people that I loved seeing on a daily basis: Julie (Volunteer Coordinator), Lindsay Sutherland Boal (from Purely Cabaret) and Zelda (volunteer extraordinaire).

Cat and Brad - The Dance Off

Andrew Snowdon live streaming a chat with Tania Levy. Even if people couldn't make it to the festival, they could still feel a part of it.

While I was running around in jeans and my staff t-shirt, my good friend Thea was looking fierce!

The Courtyard was alive on a couple of nights thanks to the Canterbury High School motown band Otis Lives.

My heart filled with joy at the sound of the Mini-Fringers having fun during their drama camp with Orleans Young Players.

Line-ups = bums in seats = happy artists = happy producer

The beautiful Heather-Marie at the closing presentation of the Lunchtime Artist Series.

Me and Pierre, a beautifully talented designer and technician and all around good guy.

I made it on the highly coveted Cat's Crushes list.

One of the perks of being the boss is that I get to make cool announcements, with people waiting on my every breath.

Being able to publicly thank people who saved my behind on multiple occasions is a beautiful thing.

Ottawa Tonite live streamed the closing ceremonies.

I remember this moment vivdly. It was just after I announced the conclusion of the festival. I felt like my knees were going to go out from underneath me. I wanted to laugh and cry all at the same time.

Probably my favorite moment of the whole festival. Beatrice and I enjoying some quiet time while watching the Rock the Arts puppet show. I barely sat down during the Fringe, but I'm glad I took time out for this moment.

Day 151 – Decisions, decisions… (a.k.a. choose my outfit for me!)

The longer I work for the Ottawa Fringe, the more I realise how decision-heavy my job is. I don’t do much of the work, but I do make plenty of decisions on what work needs to be done. And I’m also pretty good at deciding if I like something or not.

My brain has been so overloaded that I’m finding making the simplest daily decisions such a hurdle. What should I cook for dinner? Shower or bath? Lip gloss or lipstick? Seriously, these are the things that clutter my brain.

I did realise today that I am very lucky, because I have choices. Some people don’t eat three meals a day. Some people don’t have clean water. Some people don’t own beauty products, let alone many of them to choose from.

Still, I have a decision to make and I’m having difficulty. My whole Ottawa Fringe media launch outfit will be based on shoes. Help me pick the shoes, and the outfit will fall into place.

Day 148-150 – Blossoming

Day 148: A seed of an idea was planted last year and it is finally coming to fruition. I don’t want to give too much away for those who aren’t in the know already, but I will talk more about it after the Ottawa Fringe media launch on Tuesday June 1st.

I do have to say that this small idea has grown into much more than I ever thought it would be and that’s thanks, in part, to two people who are donating their time, skill set and passion for the Fringe. Aside from the fact that this idea (these many ideas?) have great business potential, the work is motivated because that they care.

Refreshing.

Day 149-150: It’s been a busy past couple of days in my front and back garden. One day, I was sad that none of the flowers I planted from seed has bloomed yet. Then I took a moment to look at the back garden and noticed how lucky I am that my neighbour’s lilacs decide to come on over for a visit.

The next day, one single flower appeared in my front garden. It looks kinda sad and lonely, but I still think it’s beautiful. I made something grow!