A little renaissance renewal…

IMG_2542

Making friends with the Muskogee police that are dealing with the security on the film shoot.

I’m off on location for film shoot. I’m hanging out with a film crew and young people who have never acted before and who have lived through tougher times than I will ever know. There are moments that I think I won’t make it through the 7 weeks. But here I am one week in and still alive and finding positives in weary days.

It sounds minor but one of the hardest things for me is being constantly inundated with cigarette smoke. EVERYONE smokes, outside the doors, inside the rooms, in the car, EVERYWHERE and I am the only one that does not. So anything I do comes with smoke. You would think I would get used to it, but so far it is just gross.

The second annoyance is the LOUD rap music these young people listen to with hateful lyrics. Their music represents such a dark world and I am so the opposite! I like upbeat, bright and happy. I spend a lot of the time in the car taking them places with the music blaring and there are times that I just want to scream! But I am trying to be tolerant as these are the very least of the issues that I am dealing with.

There is heavy drug use, rudeness, foul language and disrespect. But then there is the flip side of the hurt, the abuse they have suffered and the delightful ways they have learned to cope. Each of my “charges” has a lighter side, but the dark descends with the certainty of the nightfall.

One of my jobs is to try and find things to do with them in the hours they are not needed on set. This has been a bigger challenge than it sounds when all they want to do is stay in their dingy, dark motel rooms and smoke. It takes me hours to rally them into the van to take them places. This morning they are still in their rooms and it is noon. I went out to a Farmer’s Market and exploring the small town this morning by myself. I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up my healthy habits.

Muskogee, OK Renaissance Fair

Muskogee, OK Renaissance Fair

Last week I  took them to a Renaissance Fair and it was really fun. It was a fabulous one with a lot of vendors and in a beautiful forest setting, with costumed people talking in old english. It was a place that if I took my daughters we would have had a BLAST, getting totally into the scene, but for these young people they were bored in an hour and ready to go. So sad.

Muskogee, OK Renaissance Fair

Muskogee, OK Renaissance Fair

I am constantly struck by how our family situation molds who we are and how difficult it is to change that or even want to change it. So much of who we are, is who we are, and to become something different even when given a miraculous chance is almost impossible it seems. I do a lot of listening. There’s no telling these young people anything, just listening to the montage of hate and hurt and natural defensiveness against life’s perceived unfairness and distrust of everything. It all makes complete sense when you see what they have been dealt in life, so it’s a case of not judging and just loving.

But when one girl disappeared yesterday, getting in a stranger’s van with a LOT of cash on her and no cell phone, I was worried and hurt and angry. I care so deeply and I hope they can see it through the haze of smoke they live in. But right now, I’m just trying to hold onto my sanity, and keep offering another way to live.

Anticipation…

googleimage

googleimage

I’m heading off again for another 8 weeks on the road. This time it’s a bit different in that I have been hired to accompany a group of young adults that are acting in a feature film. We will be traveling to 5 central US states. When the 18-23 year olds are not acting, I will be taking them on excursions and showing them some of this great country I love. I am also there to help them process their emotional responses to the film work they will be doing. Pretty exciting stuff!

I am not sure yet what my contractual restrictions will be and if I am allowed to write publicly. But I hope the rules are somewhat lenient, as long as I don’t mention names, and then I can keep you abreast of my latest escapades. I have lapsed in my writing and this is a good motivator to get back to it and you.


So Meanderest returns, with a bit more purpose than before. I am looking forward to going to some areas that I have never been and visiting some others that are old friends. Like a cowgirl, I am getting back in the saddle, returning to the open road, anticipating great adventures, with new faces and friends. I feel the familiar excitement of the unknown and look forward to writing what it’s like to be part of a major film project. I can’t wait to share.

That Willie Nelson song is so cliché and yet he says it so perfectly…

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life I love is making music with my friends
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

Perfect Blonde Storm

Snowed-in, Massachusetts

Snowed-in, Massachusetts

OK, so I was just writing and realized for the first time that K9 actually comes from the word CANINE. Sometimes I’m so dense! I am a very intelligent woman but there’s a mix in me that would match a country song like the Perfect Storm. As another Berkshire blizzard rages outside my windows I have the  Brad Paisley song on repeat.

If she was a drink she’d be a single-barrelled bourbon on ice

Smooth with a kick, a chill and a burn, all at the same time

She’s Sunday drive meets high-speed chase

She ain’t just a song she’s the whole mix tape

She’s so complicated that’s the way God made her

Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane

And she destroys me in that t-shirt and I love her so much it hurts

I never meant to fall like this she don’t just rain she pours

That girl right there’s the perfect storm

I know how to make her laugh or blush, or mad at me

But that’s OK there ain’t no one more beautiful angry

And she loves just as deep as she goes when she’s down

The highs match the lows can’t have one without the other

And I love her just the way God made her

     Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane

She’s the girl of a lifetime a guy like me spends his whole life

Looking for, that girl right there’s the perfect storm

I think I could add a verse or two… She’s smart with a dumb-blonde side. It’s taken me awhile to accept that this is a good thing, that this specimen of femininity is not predictable and perfect… but straight and narrow with a side of curves. I’ve always wanted to be all things to all people but it makes for a really unhealthy way to walk through life. So I’m working on enjoying the “Sunshine mixed with a little hurricane” part of my personality, the angel and demon, the “Sunday drive meets high-speed chase” that makes life interesting. And I’m having success! I like being complicated and unpredictable, able to surprise and follow impulses…the girl that willingly has the instincts of a fool. 

Well anyway, Brad Paisley has me figured out and I’m grateful to know on this snowy day that maybe there are some people out there that can enjoy the puzzling way God made me. At least I hope it’s more than a nice song or maybe it’s time to write my own…

She’s smart with a dumb-blonde side.

Straight and narrow, with a side of curves

The girl that willingly has the instincts of a fool.  (Love, Lori)

Fowl play in foul weather…

I took a few very chilly walks this week…brrr…but always worth it. The first was on a rail trail where I strolled from Massachusetts into Connecticut and got obsessed with taking photos of these beautiful barns.

Ducks have been on my mind as I read Eckhart Tolle’s description about how they are able to squabble and squawk at each other, then turn, flap their wings a few times and swim elegantly away without ruffled feathers. He recommends that we do this too. Let the emotions roll over you and then flap your wings, throw them off and get back to the business of living in the now. He does not advise reliving, revamping, or re-saying what it is you should, could, or would have said or done, but just let it go. On my walks there was a plethora of ducks to illustrate his point.

I took a sojourn to Stanley Park in Westfield, MA. It must be a lovely park when it’s not zero degrees. They have a special bronze duck, named Ozzie, on a little island in the middle of a pond. A few years back the real Ozzie was killed by a teenage boy stomping him to death. The town kids brought in their pennies to fund a campaign for a memorial for the murdered Ozzie.

As I came up the hill there arose a cacophony of squawks and duck calls (they sounded eerily like the ones my mother would practice for duck hunting) that stopped me in my tracks. The pond was FILLED with beautiful, iridescent male and female ducks and a white swan.

Let me explain my hesitation…I have been snapped at by nasty geese and chased by trumpet swans. A few years ago, unbeknownst to me, I walked near a couple of nesting swans and let me tell you, they are huge, beautiful and terrifying when they are mad. Wings out and slapping the water, with necks that stretch straight at you, they pursued me as I ran away as fast as I could. I will always remember that narrow escape with nervous laughter. So as soon as I heard the din and cackle of fowl noises my fight or flight response kicked in and I thought twice about going forward.

Thankfully there was only one swan and she/he didn’t seem to be nesting and the whole pond was welcoming me with open, clacking beaks fully expecting a handout. As I forged ahead, they calmed down and decided to leave me be since I did not come bearing gifts like the Magi. I was just another shepherd coming to gaze at the scene without even the poorest offering. I saw Ozzie’s burial island with many ducks perched around him keeping him company. I had a Lord-of-the-Flies moment of horror at the idea of a gang of boys taunting and killing an innocent duck. I am glad that they have honored the outpouring of rage against a senseless act of unkindness.

Stanley Park, MA

Stanley Park, MA

The collected pennies for Ozzie brings to mind the play I am in at the moment where I perform the role of a mother of a coma patient. Every time my character arrives at the critical care facility to visit her daughter, I place a head’s up penny on the floor by the bed to bring good luck into the room. Pennies have been a simple reminder of good fortune for a long time. I hear that we may do away with them altogether as they are not worth enough in our currency to bother printing them. But for the many reminders of simple, priceless good will, I hope they stick around.

Two songs came to the forefront this week. I wish I had the DJ skill to mash them together…I think it might come out quite magical.

The duck was dancing by the water, quack, quack, quack                                                                                The rhythm made him think he oughta quack, quack                                                                                        He was dancing to the samba, the samba, the samba                                                                                       Oh, goose, oh.

This little penny is to wish on                                                                                                                              And make your wishes come true                                                                                                                         This little penny is to dream on                                                                                                                       Dream of all you can do

The goose was gaining passing by, honk, honk, honk                                                                                        He stopped and gave the dance a try, honk, honk                                                                                              He was dancing to the samba                                                                                                                                The new thing.

This little penny is a dancing penny                                                                                                                      See how it glitters and it glows                                                                                                                            Bright as a whistle, light as a thistle                                                                                                                 Quick, quick as a wink up on it’s twinkling toes

Then a lovely swan swam by, in all her majesty, and she loosened up.                                                 Hoochy-coochy-coo did that swan.                                                                                                                       She joined the duck and goose and did the samba too.                                                                                    You should have seen the kind of samba she could do.

This little penny is to laugh on                                                                                                                               To see that tears never fall

They did the samba so long, they all fell right in the water.                                                                           While they were singing away,                                                                                                                           quack quack quack, quack quack quack

This little penny is the last little penny                                                                                                            Most important of all, for this penny is to love on                                                                                           And where love is, heaven is there                                                                                                                          So with just five pennies, if they’re these five pennies                                                                                     You’ll be a millionaire

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq27GXKM-yg (Danny Kaye- “5 Little Pennies”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-AS7dpGuH8 (Karrin Allyson- “O Pato”)

Going stag into the woods…

View from the Summit House, Mt Holyoke, MA

View from the Summit House, Mt Holyoke, MA

I start tomorrow for the great hot river I’ve been wanting so long to see and alone as usual...”

I’m reading “John Muir’s Last Journey” right now and though I’ve only reached page 29 it has inspired me. Mr. Muir took his final 8-month journey to South America, Africa, Egypt and back through the Mediterranean at the age of 73 years and he did it alone. I’ve been ruminating on this aloneness in my own travels. I thrive on solo adventures, hiking, and seeing new places I’ve never been. Continue reading

Love handles…

I’m in a hilarious mood today, my writing is as witty as a 70’s sitcom, well, maybe not, were they witty? I am veering from my norm and  having a blast thinking about online dating. I have never done it, or explored it, I should say? But at the enticement of my sister, who is threatening to dip her toes in the online pool, I’m thinking “who doesn’t like company for a dip in the pond?” I’m having more fun just thinking about it, and in all honesty, JOKING about it, than I probably will actually meeting anyone.

First up is picking my online handle. Continue reading

Questing on the backroads…

IMG_1986New Marlborough, New Marlborough, New Marlborough just try saying that three times in a row. I was practicing yesterday as I was exploring this new-to-me area of the Berkshire Hills, and finding it one tricky tongue-twister. New Marlborough is a conglomeration of 5 tiny villages, Mill River, Southfield, Hartsville, New Marlborough, and Clayton. There’s not much here, but the appeal is strikingly cozy.

And as usually happens, a perfect Rodney Atkins song came on the radio for me to sing along to… Continue reading

Icy Beauty of Connecticut Crystal

Sheffield, Connecticut

Sheffield, Connecticut

I have always had a romantic notion of winter in Connecticut after being raised watching movies like Christmas in Connecticut, Holiday Inn and White Christmas. There were horse-drawn sleigh rides, beautiful inns with huge fireplaces, hot toddies, snow-covered barns, bells, singing and plenty of picturesque magic. Continue reading

A Pictorial Toast to 2014

Another full year flies by with many new homes, hikes, plays, friends, family and surprises. What a lucky girl I am, in love with life, my girls, and the next adventure around the corner. Looking back as I dream forward. Happiest 2015 to you all!

January…

February-March… Continue reading

Mapping the River of Life

I know, I’ve abandoned you, my sincere blog readers, as I got busy with life. I have missed writing and sharing with you all. I’ve been in Lenox, Massachusetts working for Shakespeare & Company and seeing so many of my goals come to fruition. I found a “map” that I created last February of all the hopes and dreams that I had at the time. When I unpacked from yet another move 7 months later, there it was, and four of the six things I had schemed about had come true already! These were things that I hadn’t expected to see happen until many years ahead.

IMG_1528

Private Eyes at S&Co

Continue reading