Friday, December 9, 2011

Winter is Coming...

le scarf!
I finally finished my scarf! I've been working on this thing for ages, which is ridiculous because it was pretty easy to knit. It didn't take me too long to do once I got started, but I'm lazy so it took forever. It's pretty easy, and if you would like to make one yourself, the directions can be found at TLC's website. I had to google a few things myself because I knit so rarely I sometimes forget what they mean when they say "purl" or how to cast off at the end of a piece...
Which reminds me, if I'm ever going to finish my hat I'm going to have to figure out how to "cast off" of circular needles. And find the pattern again.

this is a terrifying picture of me,
but I'm too lazy to take another.
Next, perhaps I'll finish a book.
I have read the first four books in A Song of Ice and Fire or more commonly known as A Game of Thrones, which is the title of the first book. They are quite long and there are a lot of characters, so I've been savoring them a bit. The first one took me a week to "savor" because it was so good. Than the second took me a bit longer, and the third longer than that, and the fourth took the longest. I know they're good because I keep trying to take a break from them and then decide I want to read them again within a few days.

They are the kind of books you need to take some time with, I think, because there are just so many characters and they are competing in the game of thrones, so basically all of them are competing against each other so most of them cannot win. George R. R. Martin is not kind to his readers, he let's us love them until he kills them and he sometimes makes us understand them just to destroy them. So if you want some light reading where the good guys win and the bad guys lose, this series is most definitely not for you. However, if you enjoy political intrigue and the kind of characters that make Snape look simple, than by all means, start the bloodbath.

Stay tuned: while I decide whether or not to finish said hat or move onto making a t-shirt quilt or these nifty headbands, possibly with scraps from the first t-shirt quilt.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

November: the month where I wrote a book.

I believe I've been a bit AWOL lately, but I promise I have a few relatively decent excuses.
In the month of November:

I spent five days a week in rehearsal for Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant, which opened on December 2nd. It runs through the 23rd, by the way, if you're free you should check it out. And let me know if you're coming so I can see you before/after the show! The show is based on an excerpt from the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. I intend to at some point read this book, because I hear it gets even more hilarious. As it is, the audience can barely contain themselves they are laughing so hard. Watch me transform from the sweater girl Aunt Martha to a bratty, giggling child that gets dragged offstage kicking and screaming by the end!
Come see the show and then perhaps afterwards we can all dedicate several weeks to reading the novel.

In the middle of the month, the group I write and direct for, The Spirit Singers, performed Unofficially Decided. This is the second play I've written for them and the third I've directed. I wrote this play based on an idea, as opposed to a plot, which made it incredibly difficult for me to finish. It took me around three months to write the script, which we cast and began blocking before I had finished (boy do I need to change that scheduling). Some day perhaps I will tell you more about that...

but the thing I am most excited about is that I finished National Novel Writing Month! Instead of reading books this month, I spent an entire month writing one. How do you win, you ask? In just one month you have to write 50,000 words. In addition, they urge you to actually finish the novel, which requires having a beginning, a middle, and an end - not just 50,000 words. I manged to have both! It is a rough draft - very rough - but a few of my friends have read it, and they seemed to want to finish it at least! Adina is the only reason I was really able to finish though. She started reading my novel one week in and just kept begging me for what happens next. Without her, I don't think I would have had the drive to finish, because when those vampires come knocking (see last blog post for an explanation, or just watch Die, Vampire, Die!) I had a real person to tell them to shut up and urge me to finish. So thank you, Adina, for also caring about what happened to Paul, Sara, and Paige.

But now? Now it is December and I have to decide what I'm going to do with my month. Do I edit the novel I so rapidly wrote? Do I start work on the next Spirit Singers project? Or do I frantically audition for every single thing I see posted on TPS until I get cast in another show?

I have this habit, once I go from being too busy to having some time on my hands, where I want to do EVERYTHING, I start out spending my time being so productive - cleaning, playing guitar, knitting, reading, everything! Then, slowly, I become lazier and lazier until I'm sitting around playing the Sims for 8 hours a day, or Stumbling, or whatever.

So, here's what I propose to myself: find something each month to focus on. Ok, you know me, I'll want to do at least three, but if I make one my most important goal then I'll procrastinate on cleaning and sleeping and what have you by focusing on that goal first.

Goal One: finish projects! I currently have approximately 11/12ths of a scarf knitted (on the left), and most of a hat, goal one is to finish these projects.
Goal Two: similar to goal one - edit what I've already done. I have written three plays. Three! Can you imagine? All three of them have been performed. If these opportunities have just fallen in my lap, maybe I should take this as a sign and keep up the work? So I need to edit one of these three plays and/or one novel before I get too excited about other projects.
Goal Three: Keep up with the Spirit Singers! Hopefully we'll be able to crank out another show by June, so it's time to figure out what, exactly, they're going to be doing. This requires either finding a script or making one happen. Now, of course, this is difficult to maintain if I'm going to accomplish goal perhaps this will become my new goal two. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


For the past several months I have been trying to finish the Christmas script for the Spirit Singers. My due date for myself was September 1st. Around October 1st I decided that enough was enough and I was going to stay up ALL NIGHT if necessary to finish the script. However, since I had "all night" I spent a lot of time surfing the internet and messing around, and even the little time I spent on the script wasn't very focused.

Reason One:
This show is really entertaining

That's something I need to do quite often. One of my acting professors called me out on that. Maybe two or three in the same quarter. It's a battle I'm still fighting with myself, to choose Quality over Quantity. To focus on one project and see it through instead of hopping to more exciting projects half way through.

I didn't finish the script that night. Around 1:30 in the morning I gave up because I was spiraling into that place in my head where everything I'd ever written was worthless, and I needed to fix everything and re-write the entire play. Some of what I wrote that night was good, much of it was awfully close. A little more focus and I would have had a
much better half-nighter.
Reason Two:
Someday I'm going to finish these four books.
And the next week I was in Colorado, and got nothing done.
And the next week I...just didn't get anything done. Why?

Because I'm really good at latching onto any excuse to not do work.
Especially this work because it terrified me. One because it seemed like it would never, ever get finished. And two because it was so close, and if I finished it I would then show it to people who would judge how good or bad it is.

Today, at work, I was getting so worked
up about it (and upcoming auditions for the 5th Ave which I also don't think I'm good enough to attend) that I literally started to feel sick. Luckily, my best friend works with me and
Reason Three:
Fall makes me want to knit
she told me to go home, she'd finish my shift for me.

So I went home. To a laptop full of things to distract me. Bought some cookies, to aide with the artistic process, and sat

And puttered. Each line was a challenge, because it wasn't perfect. The voices in my head kept telling me how futile it was because the script would never, never be finished and would certainly never be good. Much less brilliant.

So what did I do?

I watched this. And danced around my house. And told those &*%&(^$ vampires to suck it.
And I finished my damn script.

Don't ever, ever let anybody tell you that you're not good enough. Especially yourself.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I actually stuck with something! And I saw five people get chased by a bear.

Couch to 5k
Around the time I posted my last post I started couch to 5k but I felt all over the place so I didn't write about it. If you haven't heard, couch to 5k is a running program decided to take your lazy couch potato self and get it to run a 5k (3 miles) in nine weeks. Now, I've been running on and off for five or six years. But I bet you I ran 2-4 times a week for two or three weeks, then took 3 weeks - 3 months off and then tried it again. Guess what? It did not go awesome. I think the best I could ever really do was run for fifteen minutes straight. I used to push myself to 20 or 30 on the treadmills at school, but that probably happened a total of 10 times my entire college experience. I probably still only ran 1.5-2 miles. Even when I was in Leavenworth and was the thinnest I've ever been, I was running maybe 15 minutes at a time. Usually I'd do 7-12 minutes, ab workout, run/walk home.
But today, after just five weeks of couch to 5k, I ran without stopping for 20 minutes. And afterwards, I didn't even feel like I wanted to die. It felt like the perfect amount to run. A challenge, yes, but not I'm-never-doing-this-again-I'll-just-die-here-in-the-middle-of-the-street. AND the schedule just has you running three days a week, so I can procrastinate every other day and still have one day to spare! Seriously, it's like the perfect workout. Have you ever just gotten TOO excited about your new goal to lose X number of pounds and just gone wayyyy too hard at the gym? And then you never, ever, ever want to go back? Well this program makes sure you don't do that. So you just feel awesome afterwards.

Do couch to 5k, you have them.

Spirit Singers
I guess I'm officially in charge of the Spirit Singers. Which is awesome, because it means I can work on teaching, and devising, and all sorts of cool artsy things. Of course, it reminds me that I'm too lazy to be in charge of a group, because I have absolutely atrocious follow through sometimes. Speaking of which, I should probably type up our idea list and e-mail it to the group instead of writing this post about how much I love couch to 5k. Maybe I'll go do that...

I almost forgot! I went on vacation! Work is so much more awesome after going on vacation! Adina and I went to Helena, Montana to visit one of our most favorite ladies, Marie! It always is so amazing to see really good friends again. New friends are great, of course, but old friends just...don't judge you the same way the rest of the world does. And that is a beautiful thing.

 So here's the thing about Yellowstone. It's in the mountains. It's awesome. It's the "Disneyland of National Parks" as Adina's mom put it. IT ALSO LOOKS LIKE THIS:

in MAY. Practically June. Not a tropical vacation. And to add insult to injury, while you're freezing your booty off, you're looking at approximately 5 billion hotsprings, which look like this:

One of the (approximately) 5 billion hotsprings
And I don't know about you, but to me this just screams "I am a tropical sauna, come bask in my warmth." However, there are signs posted everywhere warning you that people DIE from these tropical vixens. Acid everywhere. And the ground is totally unstable, so if you step on it you're very likely to find this lovely acid to burn through your shoes and kill you. Like in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." They also smell a bit like rotten eggs. Gross. They look real perty though, don't they?

Don't be fooled, they smell.
We also got really lucky because we decided to drive through the east side of the park the second day we were there, leaving Old Faithful for the final day and then driving back to Marie's before making the long haul home. THANK GOODNESS, because the next day we woke up to find out the who eastern half was closed due to avalanches. Yeah. In June. Plus, we got to see some people run away from a Mama Bear.
And isn't that why everyone goes to Yellowstone in the first place?
Looking at this picture, maybe it was a Grizzly. We were pretty sure, at the time, that it was a black bear. But everyone else said it was a Grizzly. Perhaps we were as bad at Yellowstone as people thought we were.
I bet you're thinking "Now Jana, why would people thing you're bad at Yellowstone?"
Here's why.
We decided it would be a good idea to walk around in the show in short dresses and heels. It started off innocently enough: we were going to dress up and go to the bar for food and drinks. The bar is in the hotel we were staying at, so this is a legitimate idea. However, then we decided to go to the other restaurant where there was a view of Old Faithful. Which involved walking outside. People all but pointed and laughed at us. Adina was trying to take pictures, and I was trying to run and not slip.

Still not as foolish as getting chased by a bear. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Hunger Games and the truth about Friday the 13th

Wow, a lot has happened since I last wrote, which is probably why it took me a couple weeks to get another post up. I left one show, did a 24 film fest, and opened two shows. And read three books.

The Hunger Games (5/5/4)
Those are the ratings for all three since I'm not sure I could completely differentiate one from the other after reading them in four days. I would almost go so far as to say Ender's Game lovers would like this one, but I don't want to get your hopes up THAT high. I don't even know what to say about those books except that you should clear your calendar before starting them or you may ditch some people or get kicked out of class for reading or something, and that would be bad. I, for one, started sneaking reading it on my iPhone during a rehearsal I was directing. Yeah, I'm that responsible.

Maybe I should name this post "Lack of Responsibility" instead, I think that may be a pretty accurate theme of this post.

Anyways, the last one was really good, I was just thought that the ending was a little anticlimatic and after all that drama between Katniss and her two guys, it was resolved too easily.

the last Spirit Singers show

Friday the 13th
I've been working with a 7th-12th grade group at my church since last July, and they performed their show on Friday the 13th this year. I kind of laughed when I found out it was Friday the 13th because seriously, what director in their right mind would pick that day to open a show? Tell me how un-superstitious you are all you want, in theater you just don't mess with that stuff because too much could go wrong. So I laughed and thought "Only at church would this happen."

So we started work on this show in like, January, cast in February? (correct me if I'm wrong) and we had 5ish months to put it together.

Three weeks before opening one of our leads got pulled for reasons unbeknown to me. He'd also choreographed about half of the show and couldn't even come to rehearsals to help us work though his choreography. And that was bad, but mostly we all just felt really bad for this student  because he didn't get to be part of a show he put so much of himself into.

And you know what else happened? My co-director, my boss if you will, the pastor who had created this group and had worked at this church for 23 years QUIT HER JOB the night before we opened. She had her reasons and I don't blame her, but seriously universe? How cursed am I?

And I mean, the show went really, really well. I managed to run the sound (cue up a CD player and press "play" and "pause" not real hard work like a mix board or anything), our replacement remembered ALL of his lines even though he'd only been to about two rehearsals, and everyone just did a really fabulous job.
Sometimes my life feels a little like this.

The Truth 
So let's do a run down of the last year of shows I've done:
Law of Life (opened Sat, plays one more day): had to delay opening because other lead/choreographer dropped out two weeks before show, other dance dropped out a few weeks before that.
Prodigal: one lead got pulled a few weeks before opening, director quit
XX Fest: week one other lead got horribly sick, week two I got sick
*Winter Spirit Singers show: nothing bad happened?
Godspell: fired director two days before opening

So at first I looked at this run down and thought "OMG my theatre career is cursed!! Maybe it's a sign!! I should stop doing theatre!!" And then I realized...some of those shows got better after crazy things happened. Maybe I should run with the opportunity I may be given. As far as I can tell from a brief conversation Friday night it sounds like the church's plan is either I run the group or no one does. The only problem is, how can I run a group that meets from 5:15-7pm in Redmond and still do acting in Seattle? What exactly should I be focusing on?

The one thing I've been managing to do is keep my plants alive.
Now they're taking over my apartment! They're everywhere!!!

My cucumbers are getting big enough I actually have to start worrying about  terracing them.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gardening, Guitars, and Shows (oh my)!

Fact of the day: I am more famous then my blog.
You’re probably thinking “what on earth are you talking about Jana?”
Well, if you google my full name, you see me. I think it’s actually me for the first page. If you google the name of my blog you see not my blog. I would check further than the first page, but google seems to be having a breakdown and is not working. In fact I’m not even typing this in my blog right now, I’m writing it in Word because I can’t get to my blog.

In other news, you may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog. You also may not have, but that’s cool, I understand you have other things to do with your life then constantly be checking my blog. The reason I changed the name of my blog is because I decided to write about whatever the hell I want to (thanks Ray, sorry to any grandparents/church family I’ve insulted with my foul language).

Eat, Pray, Love
I am currently reading Eat, Pray, Love. I’m done with the Italy section and onto the India section. This book really makes me wish that I could a) travel to Italy, b) speak Italian c) still speak French, d) do lots of Yoga, meditation, and prayer, and most importantly e) spend four months at a time focusing on something. I utterly lack focus in my life except, perhaps, acting and theater. Yet even there I usually want to do something different every show. Sometimes I want to do something different halfway through the show, which is super healthy. I usually just do like a zillion different theatrical things at once, but never work on them at home. In fact, usually I’m so busy between work and rehearsal that I don’t really have time to work on anything at home. Or at the very least, I don’t have the energy.

And then, when I do have time, I dream about all the things I could/should/want to be doing. I dream about getting good enough at guitar that I could sit and play on Greenlake on a sunny day. I dream about being super awesome at Mary Kay so all I ever did was plan parties and make pretty gift baskets and drink wine and have girl time ALL THE TIME! I dream about having a basketful of kids who I sing songs with (a la Maria in The Sound of Music), kids who know French and are well versed in musical theater AND classic rock.

So I’m working on both getting things done that need to get done (i.e. laundry, unpacking those last few boxes, de-cluttering my apartment), doing shows, working, and LEARNING (guitar & gardening)! I may not have been a huge fan of school, but I feel like I need to always be learning something…otherwise what’s the point? I can’t stand sitting still, and I really can’t stand the thought that I’m not progressing towards…something. I’m not really sure what that something is, but I think the process of trying to get there is more important then the goal. Besides, how can you know what you want ‘till you get what you want and you see if you like it? (One month till Into the Woods rehearsals start!)

The Garden
Some plants are definitely doing better than others. Surprisingly, one of them is that Pisa-like Snapdragon. 
last week.                                                                         this week!

However, I'm pretty sure I've killed my cucumber. And yet...I have broccoli and stocks growing (you can see them behind the snapdragon!) 
Note to self: do not leave cucumber out in a very cold rainstorm. It used to be so big and pretty :( 

What do you wish you could do that you haven't (really) accomplished?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Apartment Garden!

I Kill Plants: A History
I killed lucky bamboo once. For some reason I decided to keep it in my dance room, which I never used, instead of some location where I might actually see it and feel sorry for it as it withered and died. I think the rational was that it got the most sun in there, or I could leave the blinds open for it, or something. After the death of the lucky bamboo, I decided that I was not a plant person. Yet, three weeks ago I decided that maybe I should buy some plants and grow them.

There was hope for these new plants I wanted to buy. Senior year of college, my roomie Marie decided to buy our house a plant that we lovingly called our love fern. It was a spider fern? Anyway, she chose it because it was apparently pretty tough and hard to kill which she thought was perfect for us (mostly me). And we didn't kill it. Not only that but it tried to shoot off little baby ferns. So at the end of the year, Marie gave each of us a piece of our love fern. I now have two, because Suzy moved to Boston and forgot hers. So I've had these plants all by myself for a year, and neither of them have died! I also got a cactus as a present after a production of "Nosies Off!" which is also still alive!
The thing about cacti is - how can you be sure they're still alive?

Week One
I spent like, maybe $20 on dirt, planting pots, 2 already alive flowers, and 3 packets of vegetable seeds. And I figured the flowers I could maybe keep alive, but the vegetables were a different story. I vaguely remember having a unit in 2nd or 4th grade where we grew plants, and all I really remember was that the plants grew and were somewhat edible. So I read the instructions on the back of packets to see how deep to plant the seeds, and how far apart they needed to be, and I planted them. Now you have to realize that I was just using the little start pods that you get, and I had no idea what I was going to do if these things actually freaking grew, because there was no way a cucumber plant could survive in this tiny little pot that I had, but I decided that IF any of these plants actually sprouted, I could deal with them then.

Week Two
Now that nice part about really being too busy to ever be home is that I really only checked the plants every couple days to water them, so I was spared the anticipation of hourly checking to see if they'd sprouted yet. After about a week I went to water the carrots, and there were all these little green shoots coming up!!

But now what?? I can't actually grow a carrot in a 6" deep pot!! I didn't think it would actually grow! I thought I was too bad at being a grownup for such a thing to happen!! So these carrots were slightly worrisome, but also still babies so I still had some time. A few days later the cucumbers sprouted, so I realized I might actually need to get something to plant these babies in if I was going to one day be able to eat them.

Maybe I'm not good at transplanting - after moving my snapdragon to a pretty pot, it now leans very badly.
The roots probably shouldn't look like this. Maybe I should put more dirt over it, to stabalize?

Week Three 
I cleaned my cat's litterbox, and as I emptied the last of the litter into the box I had an inspiration. I could use this plastic container as a planter! Shoot, I could even paint it cool if things worked out. And luckily I'm such a lazy slob that I not only had this container, but the last empty litter container! Scissors didn't work too well to try and cut into the box, but stabbing near the top with a knife did, so I cut off the top and had my two planters, one tall and one small. "Transplanting" (in quotations because I have no idea how to do it without killing everything involved) went well for the cucumber, except that I ran out of dirt and only filled up the litter container halfway, but the carrots may have all been massacred. I'd already watered them that day, and then I had "thinned" them, so the dirt was mud and the plants were already discombobulated and basically I may have killed everything. But I planted a few more next to the sprouts, so maybe I'll get lots of baby plants soon! I'm not going to get too excited, because it did snow several miles north of my apartment, so it was probably cold and my plants probably shouldn't have been outside during the nighttime yet.

Week Four 
Yesterday, I went to the store and spent a ridiculous amount of money on 2 more flowers, 3 more packets of seed, 2 bags of dirt, and 2 ceramic pots to put plants in (one big, one small). I also got some of those real planter cells, so now I have like a million places to put these plants and I'm clearly just too enthused about this.
Today I planted a couple more carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers as well as the new plants: Walla Walla onion,  broccoli, and stocks. I got really excited about the stocks because they're flowers and pretty. Look:
so I also sprinkled them on a pot that I'm already trying to grow something in. But the thing is - I labeled all of my pots so that I would know how to take care of them, and this one doesn't have a label. So clearly it's just a pot of dirt and now is going to be flowers. Also - planting stocks are really fun because you sprinkle them on top  of the dirt. So I pretty much wanted to sprinkle any piece of dirt I could find with the things. But I guess you're supposed to not sprinkle them too close together, and I COATED those tiny little pots, so they might all kill each other.