One Midnight, One Minute To Go…

…One minute to say goodbye before we say hello.~ “Let’s Start the New Year Right” as sung by Bing Crosby

2014 was an odd year. Here are some pictures and tales to go along with them aka my way of doing a better version of the fb app ‘Your Year In Review’

January 23, 2014 Disneyland, CA
On this trip I connected with old friends, met new people via couch-surfing, and buried old ghosts. Every day was an adventure to a new or old place with someone delightful at my side or completely alone. I re-learned my delight in exploration and didn’t stress about things beyond my control. And you know, I went to Disneyland/California Adventure twice and finally caught my pullover pump shoot on flying trapeze 🙂

February/March 2014
What started as something that was supposed to be just a consult dr’s appointment with my grandmother turned into a 2 night sleepover w/ her and mother (as the appointment Wednesday became procedure Thursday with an unexpected night in the cardiac lab for my grandmother who then didn’t leave til Friday), followed less then 5 days later with the start of 6 weeks of hospital hell as my grandmother and the dr’s did everything right but everything went wrong anyway as we bounced between cardiac ICU, step down units, bedlam, home, and back again. And Snowpocalypse happened. And there were still auditions to be gone to and excessive jaw pain from stress clenching to be done.
A post it fixed to the patient side of the nursing station of the ICU the first night after my grandmother’s 1st vascular surgery.

My grandmother, wearing my sunglasses and smiling crankily as I take this shot of her with her 2nd NG tube. You can still see the pressure dressing on her neck from her recently pulled CVC. 

I hadn’t really recovered from all that when May hit and I began a cycle of teching and performing in multiple shows at the same time along with photographing at least one event or show a month, a pattern that would continue straight on until the end of October. During that time I ventured into roles I’ve never really delved into before (producing as well as sound design and fundraiser organization), which was awesome and demonstrated my need to have good back ups for myself.IMG_6477
I love trapeze. This is my teacher and friend Daniela. She meets me where-ever I am in training that day, physically as well as mentally, and is endlessly patient with my chatter and goofyness. She helped keep me sane and ground me this year in ways I can’t even describe. I would truly be lost without her.


In June, my estranged father learned (via the US postal service) where I live, something I have fought never to share with him due to the intense stalking he subjected my sister and I to in my teens. Still living in a state of low level freakout from that, a good friend, with no ill intention or malice but with unearthly bad timing, broke my trust and I found myself regressing back to the terrified adolescent I have tried hard to grow out of, the one who couldn’t talk to people and would run away to hide with the horses. I found myself feeling deeply unsafe in the places where I had always been so.

“Maria, these walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.” ~The Reverand Mother, from “The Sound of Music”  Cliche perhaps, but true; healing isn’t found in sitting on the ground drowning in pain or by running away. It’s found in walking out of darkness into the sunlight, even though it burns.

“Constant use had not worn ragged the fabric of their friendship.” ~Dorothy Parker
I love these two women. I could write 20 blogs about adventures we’ve been on together and everything they do for me. Because of them I found myself pushed to grow as an artist in directions I never dreamed of going, and I am better for it. I love them. That is all.

“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson
But what if they give themselves, in spite of your hesitation, in spite of your fears, in spite of the voice inside that whispers that you are unworthy?

Then count yourself triply blessed.

I do.

My shows of 2014 (sound design/board oping, acting in, producing, and photographing. I don’t have pics of all of them either, sadly) numbered in the double digits. Here are some of my favorite moments in them:

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*Note: the picture of the girl on the trapeze is not me. It is my incredible friend Danielle, performing in a show I teched for.10608334_10152882464928420_3823200296027048647_o  10688163_10152885340843420_79531725988723868_o  10338475_10152418898346966_8013342521643614776_o10863815_758358517534960_5348853593930313208_o


In 2014, I found courage to speak about things and feelings like I have never had before. I learned that practicing forgiveness even when you don’t feel it can lead to an unconscious release of bitterness and salvage friendship. Learned to survive one of my most difficult years as a nurse. I also grew older, and had my busiest year ever creatively. Not bad for an old lady. Here’s to whatever madness and mayhem 2015 shall bring.IMG_0318
“Let’s start the new year right, twelve o’clock tonight
When they dim the light, let’s begin
Kissing the old year out
Kissing the new year in
Let’s watch the old year die with a fond good-bye
And our hopes as high as a kite…”
~ “Let’s Start the New Year Right” as sung by Bing Crosby

“Home is where…”

“…the pants aren’t!” ~Christopher T Beatty

For the last seven years, the city of Portland, OR has been my home. And it has been wonderful. I moved from a 17ft travel trailer with no running water and unreliable circuitry to my very own home for the very first time (with a month long seguway in which I floated between loved ones til I’d saved enough from my new job to make the deposit on my new apt). I had a new job/career, I was studying acting at the place I’d been longing for for a year and a half and in <6 months I was starting to make new friends.

I love Portland. I love Oregon. I have always lived near running water, be it a creek, stream, or river (we’re not counting the rainy season 😛 ). I don’t know how long I will stay here; every day is a gift and a discovery that could bring something new either here or somewhere else. But for now, it is fall in my gorgeous city and I am loving it.

Hawthorne Bridge
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Happy Autumn/Almost Christmas! 😀

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious…

…It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.”  –Albert Enstein, in “What I Believe” 1930

Apologies to my (three) readers; I’ve been so busy the last 5 months living life and making art that I didn’t have time to post here about it. Which makes me sad since I wasn’t not taking pictures or creating; a lot of the time I couldn’t post because I got hired a couple times this year to take photos for people and because its theatre, there was a crazy fast turnaround time on it. And I was performing in shows. And I ventured into the crazy world of producing theatre. And then I was moving on to the next 20 things that demanded 100% of my creativity and attention…and lather rinse repeat and you have the last six months.

But now, I’m on break (and thank God. I need it). And I get to post photos from way back in May, Hurrah!

In my last blog entry, I talked about this amazing, mysterious orchard I wandered into whilst at the tulip festival. I never posted my pictures from the festival because I had gone so that I could enter a contest. The results are back (well, a while ago they were) and I didn’t win so I think it’s time to share picures of pretty flowers, damnit! This isn’t a blog with a lot of story to it, so just sit back and enjoy nature’s beauty with me. And me sharing random quotes 😀

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Note: (Photo nerd moment!) Look at that spider! I got the focus just perfect on his eyes and you can zoom in on them really far!
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“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one things of changing himself.” ~Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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“What if you slept and what if in your sleep you dreamed, and what if in your dreams you went to heaven, and there you plucked a strange and beautiful flower, and what if when you awoke, you had the flower in your hand? Ah, what then?” –Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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“I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
~William Butler Yeats

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“Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness.” ~George Orwell

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The edge of the blackberry apple tree orchard. I think I shall try and go back in the winter, should it snow. Perhaps I will find Narnia then…

Lucy woke out of the deepest sleep you can imagine, with the feeling that…

…the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name.
~Prince Caspian

My mother loves–  dobermans. But that blog had already been written. She also loves books, so much so that when she had children she made a concentrated effort that her offspring would love them as well. She read many books to my sister and I, but the two that I remember best are ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.’ Because of the latter, I spent all of my childhood looking in closets, attics, and wardrobes, hunting for my own Narnia. This longing became worse after reading ‘The Secret Garden’ and I would imagine exploring my own secret place(s) where no one else could go. I wanted so badly to go to a place where animals could talk and centaurs could teach me to use a bow and arrow and fight with a sword.

I sadly never found a corporeal Narnia of my own. Part of me still looks for it and hopes for one (which is why I often sneak off into attics and closets at parties or in churches or schools; you never know where Aslan may be hiding). Granted, animals talking probably wouldn’t be as awesome it is there; I’d probably end up with Balaam’s donkey cursing me for an idiot vs a dignified bear mentor. Because, well, yeah, Queen of Awkward here, yo.

But I can’t help looking. It’s too engrained in my being at this point to ever stop. So when I was at the tulip festival last month and I saw a huge dark orchard next to the tulip fields, I of course, snuck in.


It was amazing. I really don’t know what kind of trees they were (I’m plant stupid); the trees looked like apple trees but had leaves like thornless blackberry bushes. I texted a friend and told them that, “Any second now, a collywobble, bandersnatch, liongoose, or wolfstork could peek out from behind a tree and wisk me away to fairyland!” And I would have been just fine with that.


“But while he was seeking with thimbles and care,
A Bandersnatch swiftly drew nigh
And grabbed at the Banker, who shrieked in despair,
For he know it was useless to fly.”
~Lewis Carroll


I kept walking and walking. The orchard was amazingly huge and beautiful. I could peek through and see a farm through the trees on one side, but the light was shut out by the thick branches and trees, keeping it peaceful.IMG_7950


However, all good things must end. As I walked further up and further in, I began hearing car engines; the orchard is flanked on two sides by roads, one of them paved and apparently well used by humans. I didn’t go to the edge; I could make out the cars in the distance, just barely, and could hear them well enough. I didn’t need to completely destroy my illusion with harsh reality. Dang it. I turned around and walked back the way I came.


The only other people I saw in the orchard were two bicyclists. Which was awesome and SO totally Portland 🙂


Returning to reality was easier through the tulip fields. Dying flowers seemed perfect for that moment.


“Remember that all worlds draw to an end, and that noble death is a treasure that no one is too poor to buy.” ~Last words of Roonwit, the Centaur

“But I guess that’s the way it is. When you lose something irreplaceable, you don’t mourn for the thing you lost…

…you mourn for yourself.” ~Harpo Marx

This is Jason:


(Taken at my birthday karoke party in 2010)

Jason was amazing. He wasn’t a big shot actor or writer or anything we think of as awesome these days. Jason was a huge nerd who worked in a bookstore. But he had two gifts that I envy: he accepted everyone as they were, wherever that was, and he could bring wildly different, wildly busy people together in happy nerdy friendship.

I have a memory of going to see a Corban College show (that Gypsie was in; I don’t remember which one) and Jason was a stagehand for that show. During a scene change, the stage went dark, but there was still a little bit of light on so that scenery could be safely changed. In that tiny bit of light, I could hear them moving things, but couldn’t really see them because of their blacks. Except for Jason. He was barefoot and had a white-boy fro so all I could see was dis-embodied feet walking around with a blonde floating fuzz-ball on top. Which kept me sniggering throughout the rest of the show.

In July 2011, Jason got sick. I’m still muddy on the details, but the short version is: he contracted a respiratory illness, ended up in the hospital, coded once or twice, and was in a medically induced coma for a couple weeks. He recovered, but had congestive heart failure and a host of other problems that he was working on (eating healthy, losing weight, etc). Once he was finally home, we  plotted a get together for Gypsie, him, and I; I was looking up heart healthy chicken recipes to cook for us. We’d planned our dinner for 8-5-11, a Friday.

On Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011, I missed a call from Jason’s roommate, Shawn. I don’t remember anymore what exactly he said in the voicemail, but the gist of it was that they had gotten up and found Jason gone; he died in his sleep in the night. It was also four days before his 30th birthday.

I couldn’t go to his funeral/’celebration of life’. I was working, and couldn’t call in sick because I was saving my sick time so I could go to tech for my show (which sounds shitty, I know. It was/is, but it’s done and there’s no going back). And, honestly, I’ve always been of the opinion that funerals are for the living, not for the dead; they’re dead for goodness sake, it’s not like they know. However, funerals are good for making the event real, particularly if the person is someone you haven’t seen in months. Without it, grieving can be a little hinky; it doesn’t come at first because the death of your friend isn’t 100% real to you.

I still miss him. We weren’t best friends by any stretch of the imagination, but he was a dear friend, if that makes any sense.

Today is my 30th birthday. I’ve been on a slowly building freakout for the last 6 months as the fact that I will turn 30 and Jason never will hits me over and over again (along with my typical mid-life crisis x50 that I get at my birthday). This Friday, May 16, the day I became older than he will ever be, I went and visited his memorial garden. I had never been there. I messaged Jason’s mother on FB about a month ago to ask if he had a headstone (since I’m an ass and could never over-come my own awkwardness to ask before) because I wanted/needed to visit him. I have a passing acquaintance with her blog that she writes as her way of working through her grief over him, so I knew it existed. I just didn’t know where. She very kindly told me they only had the garden, but that I was welcome at anytime; I could stop by the house and visit with her or just go to the garden alone. I chose to go alone.

Driving south on I-5, this is the exit I would take to go to Jason’s apt for our Rifftrax parties and Dr Who gathering. The first time it really hit me was when I was driving through Salem on my way to Eugene to visit my brother and I thought, “Oh! I should text Jason to say ‘Heya! I’m driving by you!’ ” like I always had done before, which was of course followed by the inevitable “No I can’t text him. He’s dead.”


He dwelt among untrodden ways…


His garden



I sat there for probably 30 minutes, crying, praying, watching the hummingbirds. Lather, Rinse, Repeat. I kept thinking that what the garden really needed was a TARDIS windchime and wondering if they even make them (I’m sure somebody must. I mean, they make Dalek salt and pepper shakers for goodness sake, why not a windchime?).

This was the only pic I got of the hummingbirds. They were camera-shy. And really speedy!


His memorial wall


NERD!!! 😀 


His glasses, and one of those silly markers from restaurants. He saved the ones with ’42’ on them because he was a big Hitch Hiker’s fan


That boy had huge feet. He gave my clodhopper limbs a run for their money


I have no idea where he got the name Trogdor, but I’m sure he used it for D&D stuff. See what I mean by huge nerd? 🙂 


Very true.


It was a good visit. I’m not done grieving for Jason. I’m not done freaking out about my birthday and everything it means. But it was a step forward, one of several I seem to be making right now. And that’s good.


The Writer

“I love to lose myself in other men’s minds. When I am not walking, I am reading; I cannot sit and think. Books think for me.” ~Charles Lamb, Lost Essays of Elia

We talked a lot about this shoot. Jacob and me, I mean. A lot. For a couple months, actually. The seed of the idea came from one costume piece: a coat. Jacob told me he had a peacoat. Which made my Jack-brain go: “WHHAT? That is awesome! But what shall I do with it?” I typed in ‘man’s peacoat’ into a search engine, clicked on images, and went skimming. I happened to see one picture with a man in a coat, walking through the snow towards the horizon beside an old wooden fence. Cliche? Perhaps. But still beautiful. And just the thing I needed.

Jacob is an actor, but he’s also working on writing his first film. On the last shoot Jacob and I did (which you can read about here: ) we talked a lot about the genre his movie is going to be, character development, story arcs, etc. So when I saw that picture, I had a vision of him with a typewriter, sitting in the coat by a fence like in the picture. And I thought, “Dang it, that would be so awesome! But he’ll never have a typewriter. DANG it.”

But then he did. And the rest of the shoot kinda created itself.

(The style of the shoot changes, going from b&w to over-exposed color  to some random sepia. I did that because each picture tells its own story, befitting the always changing stories the Writer himself is telling)
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“When I stop working the rest of the day is posthumous. I’m only really alive when I’m writing.
–Tennessee Williams
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“Words are all we have.”
–Sam Beckett

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things…

…but their inward significance. ~Aristotle

In November, my mom and I went to the Maryhill Museum (built and created by Sam Hill). She had a groupon she wanted to use before it expired and we made it on the last day that the museum is open for the year (and ran into an old friend to boot! Hello weird small town madness…).

Maryhill Museum. No peacocks that day; it was too cold. But when it’s too cold for peacocks, it’s too cold for the rattlesnakes they hunt/kill, so I guess that’s ok.

We’d been to the museum many times before, but not for several years and, wait for it…. they had a icon exibit. Yup, pictures for religious purposes, painted in the manner of antiquity. Why? They’re really not that pretty. In fact, I think most of them are seriously ugly. However, my mother loves them. And I love her. So we went. Stupid familial loyalty and all that. And it’s not like there isn’t plenty of other awesome things to look at in the museum anyway. I don’t have any pics of the icons to share here; photography was prohibited there as the museum has the icons only on loan from a private collection. Instead, there were these:

Chess sets from around the world and in different styles


Because what museum would be complete with out creepy dolls?

A sculpture by Rodin. A Minotaur harassing a woman

Bust by Rodin of a female Japanese performer


After meandering around the inside for a few hours, we braved the icy winds to let Luke have a potty break. There’s nothing quite like a dog hurtling across a parking lot to get to you because he wants snuggles. And to step on your feet.


I love how the rider is looking off over the river to where the sunrise will be every morning.

So, to conclude: I like going to museums with my mummy and her silly doberman.

One Minute to Midnight, One Minute to Go..

One Minute to say ‘Goodbye’ before we say ‘Hello.’

I found a site today, talking about the ‘365 days of gratefulness’ project. It’s where you take a picture a day, specifically something that you are grateful for. It’s a daily reminder of how many wonderful things we are given. You can read about it here:

I have a great life. Are there things I wish were different? Well, duh. That’s a given. There were some very hard times for me and my loved ones in 2013. But when I was at my lowest point, I made the choice to focus on doing and living my wonderful life vs sitting around and letting things come to me. I would like to shift that focus a little bit: I want to focus on doing whatever God gives me to do this year AND add to that, being grateful for what I have.

With that goal in mind, here is my first picture:

I am thankful for co-workers who, after asking you to work for them on Christmas, give you a card, chocolate, and a starbucks gift card!

Happy New Year!

In case anybody wanted to hear the song I’m stealing my title from:

“Don’t dance for the audience…

…dance for yourself.”~Bob Fosse

I have amazing friends. Seriously. I hang out with nurses, actors, singers, directors, improv-ers, aerialists, and people who do random awesome stuff I can’t think of while trying to write this.

One of these friends is Kate. I met Kate in trapeze class. We were a match made in disgusting stories; me being a nurse and she a county medical examiner, it quickly became apparent that our combined powers in the disturbing depths of humanity could quickly up-heave the stomachs of our fellow students. Which only made us giggle happily and tell more gross out stories.

Kate dances for herself. Kate does more and trains more and lives more in one day than I probably do in a month. In the spring, she was showing me pictures that would have made the rest of you barf (while we both ate and went “AWESOME!” and “That is so COOL!”) and I was showing her pictiures of the shoot I did with my Gypsie (which you can re-read here: ). She loved them, and asked me to do a shoot with her doing aerial. I said “HELL yes!” and, after an all to long delay, we made the following shoot happen.

We returned to Dairy Creek Park in Hillsboro, where I went in June for a shoot and fell in love with the location. There are gorgeous train tracks there, perfect for rigging under. This was the result:



(I love her smile in this picture)

“Nankurunaisa! Live today and smile tomorrow. If you live life to the fullest, looking forward to tomorrow, things will work out.”~Blood+


“The Lute Player”

I’m a sucker for fairy tales. It’s true. I love a good adventure with a prince and a princess and dragons and swords and fights and villians. One of my all time favorites, is “The Lute Player” from Russia. It was captured beautifully by Andrew Lang in his “Violet Fairy Tale Book.” (If you aren’t familiar with it, here is a link. It’s a quick, great read, promise:

Now, with that in mind, I want to share my pics from a recent shoot I did. It was with the lovely Kyle Acheson (his FB pg is here:  and his music is here: ) in Portland’s Lauralhurst Park a couple weeks ago. I met Kyle when I stage managed a show called “The Fifth” (I blogged about it here: ) in which Kyle acted and co-wrote the original music for the show. One of my favorite things was coming to the theater and getting to listen to him warm up on the guitar while I cleaned/did stuff. So in my mind, Kyle is irreparably linked to: smiles, songs, and curls.

I didn’t have time to scout as much as I wanted before hand, so on the day, before Kyle got there, I was zipping around Laurelhurst Park in my sweat pants taking background shots (yes, my sweat pants. I didn’t know how dirty I’d get or where I’d be climbing etc and wanted freedom of movement as well as not having to worry about getting stains on things. Thankfully, no pics of me exist from that day 🙂 ).


For the shoot, I told him to bring his guitar, a plaid shirt, and a scarf. I wanted to capture a mood of peaceful autumn under the trees with the music just out of earshot (because, well, durh, they’re still photos, not film); the lonely troubadour playing to the trees for the love he has lost or waits for. And these are what came out:


“I come from my own country far
Into this foreign land,
Of all I own I take alone,
My sweet lute in my hand.


“Oh! Who will thank me for my song,
Reward my simple lay?
Like lover’s sighs it still shall rise
To greet thee day by day…


“I sing of blooming flowers
Made sweet by sun and rain;
Of all the bliss of love’s first kiss,
And parting’s cruel pain.


“Of the sad captive’s longing
Within his prison wall,
Of hearts that sigh when none are nigh
To answer to their call.


“My song begs for your pity,
And gifts from out your store,

And as I play my gentle lay
I linger near your door.


And if you hear my singing
Within your palace, sire,
Oh! Give, I pray, this happy day,
To me my heart’s desire.”


“ ‘Here,’ [the king] cried, ‘is the boy who released me from my prison. And now, my true friend, I will indeed give you your heart’s desire.’

‘I am sure you will not be less generous than the heathen king was, sire. I ask of you what I asked and obtained from him. But this time I don’t mean to give up what I get. I want YOU – yourself’

And as she spoke she threw off her long cloak and everyone saw it was the queen.” ~Andrew Lang, The Lute Player

And they lived Happily Ever After.