12 hours from now, it will all be over. This performance that we’ve been working towards since January will be presented in the morning. Normally, I’m a little nervous, but this time I’m having a full on Tangled moment.
That’s right, hand me a frying pan and I’d totally be Rapunzel right now.
Okay, so the reason for all the nerves is this. This is the first performance that I’ve been in the director’s chair for. I’ve directed songs before, but I’ve never been in charge of a full performance. What we will be presenting in the morning is actually a concept I came up with about 15 years ago. Up until now, there’s just not been a good time to do it. Starting in January, our church started working through The Story. Basically, this book is the Reader’s Digest version of the Bible. By the end of the year, we will have done a condensed walk through the Bible. Well, the performance we’re doing, presents different Bible stories (starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation) with a twist. It fits perfectly with The Story.
I’ve learned so much in putting this performance together. It’s been kind of overwhelming. I’ve learned tons about being a leader vs a dictator. I’ve also learned quite a bit about the young men and women who make up our team. I’ve found that they’re hard working, fantastic young adults! I’m so incredibly proud of them. This is by far the biggest, most intense performance we’ve ever done, and they’ve stepped up to the challenge.
I know that there will probably be moments where a sign gets missed or lip sync is off, but I honestly believe it’s going to be a good, God-honoring performance. At the end of the day, it’s not about me (which is a tough lesson for someone who’s as selfish as I am), or even about the team. It’s about presenting the message of the Bible.
So, I’m going to try to get some sleep, and pray that this will be a fun and fantastic performance!
Also, I just have to share what our stage looks like…
This is the view from the front. There’s actually a whole other side wing that juts out that I couldn’t get in the straight on picture. Hence the side view.
To give you a idea of how tall this thing is, the lowest point is about 4 feet tall. We have to stand on super tall ladders to reach the top when putting this together.
I had an interesting moment this week. I was standing at work, looking at a cup with an amputated toe in it.
From a human.
Now, being a vet tech, I’ve been present for plenty of surgeries. Working in a medical lab I see blood, and other things (I’ll call them sunshine, butterflies, and daises, to try to keep you all from completely losing your lunch). However, this was the first time I had ever seen an actual body part that was separate from the body.
Standing there, looking at the toe, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with love for my job. Seriously. By far, that toe sighting was the coolest things that happened this week at work.
Now, “normal” people would not find this to be cool. They wouldn’t think that it was a highlight of their week. In fact, they would look at me and think, “What a freaky weirdo.” And, you know what? They’re probably right.
I’ve reached this point, though, where I’ve pretty much stopped caring what people think about me. It’s too time consuming. Besides, I like that I’m a weirdo.
As if loving my gross job, and being obsessed with geeky things doesn’t make me weird enough, I’m turning into the Crazy Puppet Lady.
My mom started working with puppets before I was born, so I can honestly say I was born into this life. When I was six, she and dad went to Sunday School Convention in Peoria, and they came home with my first puppet. She was the ugliest little girl I had ever seen, and I loved her dearly. I named her Jill, and she was the first puppet I used the first time I stepped behind the stage curtain to perform. From there on, I spent my entire childhood and teen years puppeteering. Sometimes we had big teams, and sometimes our teams were just made up of mom, dad, and I.
When I graduated from high school, I thought my days of working with puppets had come to an end. It was one of those things that had been fun for the time that I had done it, but I just put it down as a part of my childhood. For a while, it was the end of it. I had a break for a few years.
Then, in early 2009 our church seriously approached our family about starting up a team. So, we did, and even though the changes a bit every few months, it’s consistently a fantastic group.
I’ve noticed a change in me, since we started team again back in ’09. When I left home back in 2003 and went to school, I really didn’t miss team or miss being a puppeteer. When I moved away in 2011, I missed team and puppeteering almost more than anything else. It really had become an intricate part of me, and not being able to do it every week was a misery.
When I moved back home last December, I had not job and no clue about what was next for me in life, but I had team and I had my puppets and somehow I knew it was going to be okay. In fact, the first weekend I was home, my parents helped me make the videos I posted at Christmas:
Now, the girl in the video is Penny, and she’s my girl. She came into my life back in 2009, and I couldn’t quite figure out what to do with her, and what was worse was that I had no clue how to give her a voice. It may sound silly, but there’s a lot more to giving a voice. You have to figure out the personality and create this whole other person. So, it was exciting when Penny started finding her voice. (Side note: Yes, I realize that Penny is a puppet, and this is not a delusional thing. However, she’s become a part of me. Hence, I refer to her as a separate individual. It’s hard to explain without sounding slightly insane, which I’m pretty sure I’m not.) Last December was the first time that voice really started to make an appearance. Last weekend, though, that voice got put to the test.
Last weekend was Creative Ministry Festival. We go every year and take our team members. Since Creative Ministry Festival is all about Creative Ministry (Puppetry, Clowning, Illusion, Dowel Rod, etc… for more info check out http://www.creativemin.com), I took Penny with me. Last year was the first year I took her, and I had this adorable 1950’s poodle skirt outfit on her. Well, a week before this year’s festival, I realized that I couldn’t take her wearing the same outfit this year. That’s when my Pinterest addiction kicked in (you may remember me referring to this addiction a few weeks ago in reference to a cake tragedy). I remembered seeing a tutorial on Pinterest about taking a superhero emblem t-shirt and making a matching tutu for it. The instructions for the tutu didn’t seem to difficult, so mom and I went on a last minute hunt for t-shirts and correctly colored tulle. We found a Superman t-shirt and a Batman t-shirt. Then, we found sparkly tulle in red, yellow, and black, and regular tulle in blue.
Thanks to my dad, I didn’t have to spend days cutting out 3 inch strips of tulle. He has this really cool circular knife and quilting mat that I used to cut the tulle. What should have taken me days took approximately an hour.
As you can see, I had a lovely pile of red and blue, and black and yellow. I then had to turn these piles into tutu skirts. Since I’m not the world’s greatest at finishing craft projects, this was it’s own challenge. However, by the day of the festival, I had created two unique tutus:
Friday night, I took Penny in her Superman outfit:
And on Saturday, it was time for Batman:
The cool thing was, because she had these unique outfits, people were more inclined to come talk to me (which is good because I’m not exactly good at socializing with strangers). Not only did people talk to me, but Penny was able to talk to them. She had finally found her voice, and started getting pretty comfortable with it.
Then came Sunday.
Since this Sunday (April 28th) is our team’s spring performance, I asked the pastors if Penny could do the announcement. I was given permission, and immediately freaked out. It was one thing to talk to strangers, it was something completely different to interact with people I know. What would they think? Would I just make an idiot out of myself?
Well, when church started, Penny and I went into the sanctuary (and yes, she was still in her Batman outfit). Even though I pretended I couldn’t tell, I could sense all the people staring. It was the first time that any of our puppet had been seen outside of the stage. Now, the number one rule about manipulating a puppet in public is that the puppet has to stay alive. This meant that I couldn’t put my arm down to my side, and Penny had to keep reacting like an actual person would. We got through the first song without problem, and then came the meet and greet time (basically 3 minutes where people can wander around and say a quick hello to each other). This is when something completely unexpected took place.
Penny and I were standing with mom, and I saw this little girl and her mom come walking over. The little girl wanted to meet Penny, and so Penny and she talked. Then, after she left, her dad brought her older sister over (these girls were about 5 and 7), and Penny talked with her. Then, after she left, two little boys drug their Grandmas over. One little boy reached out and started shaking Penny’s hand (thankfully, I had the quick reaction to grab the arm rod so Penny could actually shake hands with him). What shocked me was watching these kids interact with Penny.
I can’t talk to kids. I grew up and only child, and I had to exist in an adult’s world from birth. Yes, I had a childhood, but I don’t think my brain was ever truly a kid. Sure I liked to play and hang with friends, but I didn’t think like a kid. This has made interacting with children a huge challenge for me. I don’t want to talk down to them, but I never know what to say. However, with Penny, I could talk to kids, and they talked to her. It was my Grinch moment. It was the moment my heart grew two sizes. Each kid made me cry (which is next to impossible. I almost never cry, unless I’m watching some manipulative movie or commercial). It was the moment that I knew that I really have become the crazy puppet lady, and I’m completely okay with it.
Oh yeah, the announcement went well. I think it’s the only time the statement, “You can’t say no to someone in a Batman t-shirt and tutu.” has ever been uttered in a church.
-A couple of days ago I bought a movie I had never heard of and knew absolutely nothing about. It’s called The Watcher in the Woods. Some of the acting was really terrible, but the story itself was quite good, and surprisingly scary and dark for a Disney film. Bright spots of this film were Bette Davis and David McCallum (NCIS’s Ducky). Davis was super creepy. There was not nearly enough Ducky in this film, I think he was mainly in the film to attract whatever audience Davis didn’t attract. Here’s the trailer:
-I spent tonight with my mama figuring out what the spring puppet show is going to be. I’m pretty excited about this one, and am hoping that it all pulls together smoothly.
-I’m getting really excited and pretty nervous about Monday. New job! Big plus: I get to wear cute scrubs! There’s no mandatory scrub design I have to wear, so I can wear the fun cartoon tops. Also, I’m madly in love with the Grey’s Anatomy brand scrubs. They’re the softest, most comfy scrubs I’ve ever encountered. I’m also glad that they’re making scrub tops that are much more feminine than they used to be.
-Had weekly lunch at Zemogs. Ended lunch with “I have a job” celebratory sopapillas. Here’s a picture of the deliciousness!
-This afternoon, I decided to try to be artistic, here was the outcome:
-I’m thinking of getting the Bob Ross videos and learning to paint.
-I’m not trying to brag, but I’m super excited thinking about having a real paycheck again and being able to pay my bills again!
-I love my Hello Kitty headphones. I spent more on them than I normally spend on headphones, but the whole Hello Kitty design totally made it worth it. They work fantastic, which was super surprising. Best headphone investment I’ve made in years.
-My hair is finally getting some decent length to it. I’ll be glad when I can braid it and put it up.
-I need to find a mascara brand that doesn’t make my eyes itch and burn. Thinking of trying Physician’s Formula (waiting to make some money, just because it’s more expensive than what I usually spend on make-up). Many people have told me it’s gentle on sensitive eyes. I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but I’ve found that mascara is kind of crucial if I don’t want my eyes to look terrible.
Be warned, this is a super long post…at least for me….
Well, Christmas is pretty much winding down. All in all, it was a good Christmas. I had a bit of a meltdown mid-day Christmas, and ended up sleeping it off most of the afternoon. I just suddenly really missed Grampa. This was the first Christmas without him. The whole day, while good, felt wibbly-wobbly. I know he’s in a better place, and much happier because he actually feels good now. I wouldn’t have wished continuing to be miserable on him. The thing is, our immediate family is so small, and Grampa being gone just makes us an even smaller group. It somehow emphasizes the fact that he’s gone. It’s hard wrapping my head around that fact sometimes.
A few weeks ago I ended up watching the show Hoardersand it really got me to thinking about all the stuff I’ve got. I’ve got a lot of stuff. Really, much more stuff than anyone needs, and it’s just stuff. Sure, I have a few things that are really important and meaningful to me, but overall, I’ve just got a lot of stuff. I think the time has come to get rid of a lot of my stuff. I’ll keep my books and movies, but there’s so much random crap that’s been living in boxes under my bed and I haven’t looked at it in over a year. Clearly, I do not need it to function as a human being.
The thing is, going in the ditch in South Dakota a few weeks ago started tweaking my perspective on life and such. I guess, I never really filled all of you in on what happened after I wrote my post about going in the ditch and then being rescued and spending the night in Brookings. What happened following my writing of my December 9th post was even more “exciting” than going in the ditch.
About an hour after I wrote the December 9th post, I went to bed, only to wake up about 3 hours later in a full blown panic attack. I’d had a nightmare and all I remembered when I woke up was that I was driving, and the van was going off the road and all I could see was blinding whiteness. My panic attack basically consisted of my realizing that not only could Katy and I have frozen to death, but the fact that neither the 9-1-1 dispatcher or sheriff’s dispatcher were willing to do anything (even offer a kind word) to ease our terror. Basically, I felt that they had left us to die. Trust me, that’s pretty much the worst, most scared I’ve ever felt for my life (and ironically, we were completely safe at the point this feeling kicked in). I ended up calling my mom in the middle of the night, completely hysterical, wailing that, “9-1-1 left us to die!” Once mom got me calmed down a little and we prayed, I ended up calling my “sister” and we talked some more and prayed, and I was finally able to get to the point of being able to go back and get some sleep.
Now, when we went in the ditch on 12/9 Katy’s mom had talked to a towing company in Brookings, and they had agreed to rescue my vehicle on Monday morning. So, when Katy & I got rescued, I called 9-1-1 back and told them not to worry about moving the car, we’d made arrangements to get it in the morning. The dispatcher told me that was fine and that she’d documented it. I also left a big sign under the windshield on the driver’s side with my name and phone number. Come Monday morning, Katy called the towing company, and they told us that there were about 6 cars they needed to get before getting to ours, but they’d give us a call when they needed the keys. About an hour later we got a call from the towing company telling us that not only was the van no longer in the ditch, but the state troopers had my van towed during the night. Katy’s phone connection was bad, so she only got that my car was somewhere in a nearby county. I began calling counties, and each person I talked to was completely rude and unhelpful. Finally, Katy called the towing company back and asked if they could give her more details about where my vehicle had been towed. They told her that the van had been towed by Tiny Town Towing in Tiny Town, SD. Immediately, I turned to Google maps because I had never heard of Tiny Town. Tiny Town happens to be 40 miles southwest of Brookings (Perfectly logical place to tow it, right? Since I crashed 10 miles south of Brookings…)
I called Tiny Town Towing, and proceeded to get told that not only was my vehicle there, but there would also be fees to get it back. I asked repeatedly for specifics on the fees, and was told that it was $100 for getting the van out of the ditch, $3.50 per loaded mile for taking the van to Chester and also for taking the van from Tiny Town to Brookings, on top of which, I was told there would be fees for diesel fuel, service, and labor. I could not get her to tell me what the last three fees would come out to. So, I told her I would have to call her back. I ended up calling home finally and telling mom and dad what was going on. Dad told me he would call Tiny Town. At that point I was an emotional wreck because I’d spent the better part of two hours talking to rude person after rude person. Not only was I not being my normal sweet self on the phone, I was being a stern, direct, no-nonsense “I want answers” person.
A few minutes later I ended up getting a call from Sheriff who was the county sheriff responsible for towing my vehicle. Our conversation went something like this:
S: May I speak with Milia?
Me: This is Malia.
S: Hi, Malia, this is Sheriff from …. County. How are you today?
Me: Hi, Sheriff, I’m pretty stressed.
S: Well, I just wanted to let you know your vehicle is at Tiny Town Towing.
Me: Yes, I know, I’ve been talking to them. I don’t understand why my vehicle was towed without anyone letting me know that was happening. Especially, since I had left my phone number and let 9-1-1 know we’d made arrangements to get the vehicle towed this morning.
S: Well, it’s protocol that we tow all the vehicles from the side of the road. If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t call anyone who’s vehicles we towed.
Me: That does not make me feel better! Did you even bother to look at my license plate? It says I’m from Nebraska. I don’t know where anything is up here, and now I find out that my car is in Tiny Town which is apparently 40 miles south of here. I went off the road 10 miles from Brookings. I do not understand why this happened especially when I made arrangements and no one bothered to contact me.
SW: Well, you can’t just have anyone with a pick-up and a towline come out and get your vehicle. It has to be an actual tow company.
Me: I made arrangements with an actual tow company here in Brookings!
SW: Oh. Well, I can talk to Tiny Town Towing and see if they can bring your vehicle up. I was there when they pulled out your van and saw where they parked it. Of course, there will be fees for all this.
Me: I have a grand total of $20, I have no idea how you expect me to pay for this.
Honestly, there wasn’t much after that, basically I told him that we were trying to figure things out. He pretty much ended up the conversation there. If Barney Fife and Boss Hogg had a love child, I’m pretty sure that child would be Sheriff W.
Anyway, by that point, I just collapsed and gave up. Fortunately, shortly after that I got a call from dad and he’d worked things out with Tiny Town Towing. Turned out they gave him a completely different quote. The van got dropped off about an hour later. My sign was still sitting where I left it, and the windshield had been cleared off, so it was apparent that the sign had been seen.
I guess mom and dad were on the phone back and forth with the South Dakota state patrol all Monday. Every time the state patrol called back they would change their story. They eventually tried to tell the parents that I was on the road illegally, because the interstate had closed at 1:07 p.m. and I was out on the road after that. We easily disproved that by the fact that we had text message and phone log proof that we had gone in the ditch at 12:56.
Anyway, long story short, avoid South Dakota in the winter.
Getting back to my original point, the whole realizing that we could have died or at least gotten hospitalization level hypothermia has really been working on my whole thought process. I’ve started thinking about what I really believe and also what I want out of life. Super heavy (apparently, something’s wrong with the earth’s gravitational pull in 2012). So, I’ve started making a list of what I want to accomplish in life before I’m 30 (which happens 11/24/2014 at 2:35 a.m.).
1. Actually finish writing my novel. I’ve got a good first draft, and have started on the second draft. It’s not a life changing novel, or anything, but at least it’s better than some pop tween fiction I’ve read.
2. Lose weight. Okay, this is an ongoing one, but I really want to be 100 lbs. lighter by the time I’m 30. Which is totally do-able.
3. Clean out useless crap from my room and/or life.
4. Go on a date. To this point I’ve been on one date in my entire life, and while it wasn’t a bad date I’d like to experience one where I don’t feel completely blindsided. (It’s an entertaining story, and the guy was a nice, decent, good guy, just not the guy for me). I would like to reach 30 having gone on more than one date. It’s not a big deal, but it’d be nice. Plus, I’ve got two really super cute date appropriate shirts now, so that should count for something.
On a different note, even though Christmas is over for the year, you should totally take 5 minutes of your life and watch the Penny & Teddy video I posted yesterday. I have to say that making these videos gave me a whole new level of appreciation for professional puppeteers. I thought doing the videos would be quick and easy, and I was shocked that in order to achieve 7 minutes of semi-okay footage we worked for about 5 hours and only stopped because the two diabetic performers (mom and I) hadn’t had lunch and we were both about ready to pass out. Here’s the video I posted yesterday (yes, I realize that I’m harping on this, but I’m actually pretty proud of myself for actually finishing a project for once in my life, and that said project turned out fairly decent).
Okay, well, I’m all pau for tonight.
P.S. There’s no Tiny Town, SD, I just changed the town name. Also, I was nice and didn’t share the sheriff’s name. I should also mention, that I’ve always had a lot of respect for the law, and those who do that work, and overall it really saddened me to run into this situation.