Thursday, August 14, 2014

Feeling the need to share this one.

This is going on around on Facebook, so I added my two cents and decided to share it here as well:

 I had the great good fortune of seeing Josh Gad in Book of Mormon with Holly Flaisher. When I took my girls to see Frozen last November, I remember the thrill I felt in that dark theatre when Olaf appeared and started talking - I knew that voice immediately! It was the exact same thrill I had felt many years before when the Genie started speaking in Aladdin - it was unmistakably Robin. Both of these characters moved me to tears - both happy and sad.
To learn that these two great talents shared this special (I believe cosmically appointed) friendship fills me with all of these feelings at once.
I don't know how long this link to USA Today will work, so I copied and pasted the text of this lovely article written by Josh Gad at the loss of Robin Williams.


Olaf remembers his friend and idol, the Genie

Every actor has that idol that inspires them. That makes them want to bring joy and laughter to the masses; to make people cry and think; to give people a two-hour escape from the pain of their daily lives. For me that actor was Robin Williams.

As a product of the '80s, I grew up with Robin's antics. One of my first cinematic memories was seeing a one-eyed, muscled Robin singing and dancing in Robert Altman's Popeye. His spinach-chewing drawl and bow-legged walk were fodder for imitation in my house. Looking more like a younger Bluto than Popeye, I never quite got it down, but it never stopped me from trying to emulate a master. I remember sitting through Hook and watching as Peter Banning remembered what it was like to be a boy again; to fly above the clouds and to remind us all that the power of imagination and childlike wonder is as ageless as the stories of Neverland.
I remember learning about unique words for male and female genitalia when I accidentally tuned into Comic Relief and laughed until it hurt (up to the moment my pale and mortified mother walked in and changed the channel). But above all, I remember sitting in a dark theater in South Florida in the winter of 1992 and watching a Genie come to life in Aladdin and tear a hole in the very fabric of space and time for me. It was at that moment that I realized ... "That's what I want to do with my life."
Cut to the summer of 2011 when I was performing in The Book of Mormon on Broadway. By that time, it was common for celebrities to visit. Everyone from Bono to Oprah had come to see what the buzz was all about. It was always a thrill to look out in the audience and see a familiar face that had inspired me. But on this particular summer night, May 15 to be exact, I looked into the audience as I sang the opening lines to Hello and saw a bearded hero smiling back at me. That night, I gave what was probably the best performance I have ever given on a stage. I felt intoxicated with the knowledge that I was entertaining a man who had raised me on his comedy specials, his movies and his TV series. It would be like Luke Skywalker bringing the Empire down as Obi-Wan sits atop the Death Star and simply smiles. Or in this case, a heavyset Jedi warrior, who is desperately out of breath, performing for a master Jedi.

At the end of the show, I went up to my dressing room and received a message over the loudspeaker. Someone was waiting for me backstage. I slowly walked down the stage, trying to think of what to say when I came face to face with my hero. I remembered that he had just moved into my building on 63rd Street. As I turned the corner and saw him beaming like a proud father, I blurted out, "Hey, you live in my building!" He smiled at me and without missing a beat, exclaimed, "No boy. You live in my building!" And so began my relationship with the idol I was fortunate enough to call a friend.

That summer, as Robin was a delivering his brilliantly fierce and underappreciated performance in Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, he and I became Broadway buddies. Every night, we would get back from the theater around the same time and share war stories about our respective shows. Soon, however, our nightly encounters evolved into a written correspondence that began as a joke and ended as one of the most cherished collections of letters I have in my possession. About once a week, we would leave notes to each other at the front desk. Opening up a letter from Robin became a ritual that I would look forward to like a child opening a gift on Christmas morning. The contents of those letters are too personal to share, but what they meant to me can never fully be expressed. Sadly, Robin's show ended all too soon and he retreated back to San Francisco. He left me his bicycle, the same bicycle he would ride around the Hudson River daily before his shows, taking in all the splendor and beauty of the city. A moment of tranquility for a man so desperately in need of it.

As many know, my performance as Olaf in Frozen is inspired by the great Robin Williams. When I first met with the film's directors, I told them I wanted to create a character as free and as wonderfully surprising at every turn as the greatest Disney sidekick I had ever known: the Genie. Olaf will never remotely touch the tour de force that is Robin's Genie. Because there is only one Robin Williams. But the joy and laughter that my little snowman has brought to children is because of the man who has left this world far too early. A man who taught me to be free, to be childlike, and a man who taught me to get out of my own way as a performer. His gift was to take all of our pain away and to allow us to escape. If only we could have returned the favor.

As my best friend, Seth Gabel put it, I feel like we just lost our life coach. The one who always reminds us that regardless of the hardships we face, he will always be there to lift up our spirits. But, I like to think of him more like the clown. The one in the kingdom who entertains and lifts up the spirits of kings and paupers, knights and yeomen. The one who juggles, distracts, dazzles and mesmerizes at every turn. The one who brings us all together, despite our differences and holds court by virtue of the fact that he is not like any one of us, for he is unique and talented beyond the rest. Unfortunately, as we all too often forget, once the makeup comes off, the clown is just a man like the rest of us.

Well, today we've lost the clown. And now we're left with the fools. Goodbye, friend.
-Josh Gad 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No way to catch up, but here's some of what's up with us - at least in the first quarter of 2014.

Where to even begin?  I have not been making time to blog.  I "write" in my head while driving the girls to and from school, etc. or late at night when I'm thinking over the day but sitting down at the computer to peck it out just seems like too much effort most of the time.  This mama gig is exhausting.

But MAN time is flying and I want to make sure I'm capturing at least some of the essence of what our lives are like right now.

Lilah turned 4 on April 9th.  She is truly an amazingly vibrant child.  She is incredibly challenging (loud.  demanding.  button pusher.  tantrum thrower.) and incredibly loving (cuddler.  kisser.  cling-on.  hand holder.)

These are the 2 outfits she wore for the first 72 hours of being four years old.  Morning, noon and night.  Grandma bought the butterfly princess dress and Nana bought the Wonder Woman costume.


Sadie is in her last month of 1st grade.  She is starting to really love to read chapter books, which is thrilling.   


She has a couple of sweet little friends at school.  She loves art and science, too.  We have started orthodontia with her, so she's got some major hardware in her mouth, but she's handling it beautifully.

 working on hand made Valentines

 all dressed up and ready for her swimming lesson

Rain was a bit of a novelty this Winter/Spring:

The girls' sister friendship has really blossomed and I do my best to capture it because they can also really get under each other's skin sometimes! 

 And like every family with children under 10 or so, we're obsessed with FROZEN.  Here the girls are at a Friday night screening at our friends the Schaufler's house - who have a giant projector screen.  So fun.

So there is a tidbit of where we are at the moment. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

is anyone still there?

oh...I miss updating the blog.

but man, I am having a very hard time finding time for it.

Life is ...well, you know how life is.

Here's my facebook profile, if you care to find me there.  I update something short and sweet every day or two usually.

if you send me a friend request with a message, I'll almost assuredly add you!

Too much to try to catch up on now.  Lilah turned 3 in April and Sadie just turned 6 last week.  I am practically drooling over my pregnant friends - especially the ones pregnant with #3.


thanks for reading.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Christmas/New Year's recap

to balance out yesterday's downer post, here are some photos from our trip to Massachusetts for the holidays:

 Good morning, Merrimac!  Happy to be in Nana and Papa's kitchen

The stockings were hung on the staircase with care

 White Christmas!

 meeting Lil' Hickory, the winter lamb at Tamarack Farm

 Happy New Year! 

 Hello 2013 at Cleaveland Farm

First CA Evans Family Photo of 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

I wish I had some answers

Our more-rare-than-usual-these-days Sunday Night Family Dinner last night was pretty great.  We were only missing Joanne, who lives in San Diego.  It was a birthday edition, celebrating Jill's thirty-somethingth (a week late because she was in Hawai'i with her friend Martha for her actual birthday, poor thing!)

The adults nibbled lobster cakes (honestly my mother can make anything) and toasted with a gifted bottle of sparkling wine.  The men were happy because the Sharks were on (and won!)  The little cousins ran around eating chips and playing hide-and-seek, with grins as wide as their faces just to be with each other.   Dinner was roasted cauliflower, grilled steaks and caesar salad.  Mmmmmmmm.

And then.

Somehow (can never remember how exactly it happens when it does) the conversation dipped into to the much avoided land of politics.  Now, in the microcosm of our family, we have:
a former teacher now working as a reading specialist in the public school system,
a small business owner & VP,
a speech therapist at a county hospital,
a retired RN,
a software engineer
and me - the stay-at-home-mom.

So, I guess I am the token bleeding heart liberal in the group - but I really don't like to argue and I really really don't like being written off as clueless.  So I listened & asked questions.  It has taken me a while, but I have found that it's way better than trying to explain or defend my thoughts on pretty much anything political.   I am happy to report that it stayed civil last night.  That might be a first; not that I'm eager to do it again any time soon!

The conversation ran the gamut last night.  Vaccines, unemployment laws, taxes, government spending, healthcare, drug addiction, homelessness, even a momentary blip about abortion!  Yeeeeeee-ikes.  I used to simply bristle and shake my head at some of the seemingly overly harsh and callous comments I would hear, but now I've become a bit obsessed with trying to understand where they are coming from and why.  What I'm finding is like everyone, their views come from what they see.  And what they see are the sad, corrupt and hopeless cases on a frequent basis.

wasteful spending:
-insanely expensive medical equipment that grows dust in the hospital basement because there is literally only one person trained to use it
-a predictable annual rush of Parks Departments to purchase expensive materials with government funds because if they don't, they lose it and won't be able to apply for more next year

unemployment conundrum:
- the man who says he can't/won't start a job until after he gets his next government check even though he'd make triple that if he accepted and started right away
-the job applicant covered in tattoos - including teardrops around the eyes

the ramifications of drugs:
 - the little boy who can't sit still or focus because he was born addicted to meth and has never been able to assimilate to the structure of school
- the man racking up more than $10K daily for months on end in the burn unit after setting himself on fire while high on meth

And on and on it goes...My head spins.

Why do government funds have to be spent in their entirety?  Why can't any leftover money just be banked?
How can unemployment laws be cleaned up so that people are motivated to get back into the workforce instead of relying on government checks?
How can we break the cycle of poverty (drug addiction, homelessness, unintended pregnancies, welfare dependency, etc.)
How can we fix our education system?

What I kept coming back to last night was "so, what are the answers?"
 Actually, not just "what  are the answers?"  but  "who is supposed to be figuring them out?"

The government?  Clearly that's not working.  And what does that even mean?  WE ARE the government.

I think it means that we must pick our pet projects and get our hands dirty.  Really dirty.  

I know I'm not the only one asking these questions.  I know there are really good people out there working very hard in a very broken system to try to make a difference.  I think I need to be one of them.

I don't know where to start.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I can't even...

When our clock radio went off this morning I heard President Obama's speech from yesterday being replayed.  "...beautiful little children...  they had their entire lives ahead of them...Our hearts are broken."

So it wasn't an nightmare after all.  At least not literally, but a nightmare still.

I have no idea what time I fell asleep last night.  I laid there for what seemed like hours, alternating between trying to meditate and send my healing spirit of love to the shattered souls in Connecticut and trailing into dark, frightening thoughts and images of how this nightmare played out for those terrified little ones and their teachers, principal and school psychologist.  

I know the internet is lighting up with people raging on about gun rights, gun laws and gun violence but it all seems hollow and worthless to me.  There are numbers and statistics being bandied about as proof or explanations for why limiting access to firearms will or won't make a difference as far as preventing these types of horrific events.

I don't want to hear the rhetoric.  I simply don't want to hear it.

I have opinions about it, sure.  But all I want is for this to have not happened.  I want those children not to have seen and heard what they did.  I want the parents to have their babies back in their arms.  I want those teachers at home with their loved ones, enjoying the start of their hard earned holiday break. 

I am completely heartsick and I just can't begin to process this.  I keep shaking my head and choking back my tears.


Why, why, why?


We have got to own up to the reality that our society is severely wounded, if not already broken.  We have got to figure out how to love and care for one another - one and all.

If 20 beautiful, innocent little children being gunned down in their classrooms isn't going to serve as our wake up call, what ever will?

What ever will?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My family got hit with a violent stomach bug and I'm feeling...grateful?

Oy vey.
It has been a tough 48 hours.

When I turned my phone back on after my show on Saturday night, I was dismayed to see a message from Andrew that Lilah had gotten sick.  It was her first experience with vomiting and she did not handle it well.  I slept with her and held her over a dozen times throughout the night as she heaved, choked, screamed, writhed and then passed back out until the next round.  She has bounced back relatively well and we are focusing on rehydration and getting her guts back to normal.  (this has been a new parenting milestone for us too...yuck.)

We thought we were "out of the woods" yesterday.  Well, other than me feeling guilty for probably having accidentally food-poisoned us.

And then it hit Sadie.  And it hit her hard.  Last night was a long one.  She was sick for almost 8 full hours.  At midnight when all of our efforts to stop the vomiting were failing, we called the advice nurse and after 20 minutes of answering questions and only minimal manipulation on my part, he prescribed an anti-nausea medication for her.  As I pulled out of the driveway at 1:00 AM, I was pretty sure that it was probably going to be too late to do any good, but as my friend who recommended it said, "if it cuts her misery for even an hour, it is more than worth it."  Sure enough, she had just gotten sick again as I walked in the door with it, so we gave it to her straight away.  When she vomited again 25 minutes later, I felt truly desperate.  How was she not keeping down a Rx strength medication that is used for cancer patients suffering the nauseating effects of chemo?!?!

I may live to regret it, but I basically gave updates on my Facebook page of what was happening - mostly for moral support.  At 2 AM I lamented publicly:

okay she just threw up 25 minutes after taking a dissolve tablet of prescribed anti nausea medication! I am OVER this. we are at 8 hours of vomiting. I'm sleeping on the floor by her bed. God, Goddesses, Universe, guardian angels, Saints: MAKE IT STOP. SHE IS DESTROYED.

A tad dramatic, but I give myself a pass, considering the circumstances.  Of course that brought a whole slew of "take her to the ER for IV hydration!" suggestions from concerned family and friends.

I was glad to be able to report within just a few more hours that she had turned the corner and is slowly but surely on the mend.  She, Andrew and Lilah have all had long naps today.

Meanwhile, I got some much needed quiet time to clean up, finish the laundry and think about what we just went through as a family.  You always hear about the whole "staying up all night with a sick child" thing, but this was really our first time.  Well, except for Sadie's ER visit almost 3 years ago, which was almost certainly food poisoning from a diner, but somehow the doctors thought it was much more serious.  (thankfully it wasn't)

Anyway, in the spirit of "mind over matter" and "onward and upward" and "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger", it didn't take me long to come up with many reasons to be grateful despite thiese dreadful couple of nights.

We were all together.  I have a supportive, amazing husband who literally got puked on while I was off at a performance, doing what I love.  I have strong, brave, (usually) healthy children who can understand what is going on and trust us to take care of them during such a scary, miserable situation.  I had family and friends near and far who were ready and willing to help in any way they could.  And as cliche as it may sound, Andrew reminded me that it could have been so much worse.

So true. 

A quick inventory of what some friends that I know are going through right now yielded a sobering list of things that I am grateful that we aren't currently dealing with.  For example,

I am not facing a first holiday season after losing my young, vibrant sister to brain cancer or my beloved father to a heart attack.
I am not about to pass the anniversary of a family member's tragic death due to complications of alcohol addiction.
I am not navigating custody battles over who-gets-the-kids-for-which-holiday.
I am not scheduling ovary removal surgery and a mentally gearing up for a clinical drug trial for Stage IV breast cancer.

Then there's the global perspective:

I am not in a refugee camp in civil war torn Syria.
I am not fleeing bombings in Palestine or Israel.
I am not reeling from my home being demolished by hurricane Sandy a few weeks ago.
(tip of the iceberg here, but I am sure you get the point.)

Anyway, as we slowly get back to feeling normal, am going to keep focusing on feeling grateful.

It is Thanksgiving in two days, after all.

To your health.