If I ever don’t work in the world of healthcare, the one thing I will never EVER miss is working on the days immediately before, on, and directly following a full moon.
Full moons suck.
The boy honestly believes I’m just superstitious. I think he wouldn’t think that if he’d seen the weirdness that I’ve seen.
When I worked in the vet clinic, a full moon guaranteed that the worst, most bat-crap crazy pet owners and their even more insane pets would descend like a cloud of locusts. (Cloud? Herd? Flock? I can’t remember the right of term right now.) On top of that, downright weird stuff would happen. Awful phone calls, and things that were mind-blowing bizarre. It didn’t just happen once. I could depend on it happening Every. Single. Month. I would intentionally use vacation time, just so I didn’t have to work on full moon days. Looking back, my coworkers might have wondered if I was a werewolf.
Today, it was just reinforced to me how truly awful full moons can be. I can’t actually write about it A. Because I wasn’t directly involved, and more importantly B. I’m not willing to violate HIPAA just for a blog post. Let’s just leave it that it was sad and I was reminded, yet again, that I work with some amazingly strong, smart, wonderful humans.
Last week I was driving to work, and suddenly an aria burst from my lips. (O Mio Babbino Caro in case you’re wondering which one.) Which was…weird. I realized a few days later that I wasn’t just having arias popping out of my mouth, I was singing along to anything that was on. Radio at work? Yup. Puppet music for new show we’re putting together? Yup. Random Youtube videos? Yup. Broadway tune that randomly popped into my head? Yup.
What was even weirder? I was and am enjoying singing. Now, I’m sure that what everyone else is finding weird is the fact that I find all of this weird. The truth is, I haven’t enjoyed singing or playing any kind of instrument since March of 2004.
See, back in March of 2004, I was a freshman in college. A music education major. I got off the bus from choir tour, and received some life changing news. News that had several nasty effects on my life, but one in particular was that I began to hate music. Me, who had spent all of her life adoring music. I had loved music so much that when I was sixteen, I chose voice and trumpet lessons over getting a car. That’s some real love of music.
As the weeks passed from that day in March ’04, I came to realize that my voice wasn’t really as great as I thought. People put up with it because they were kind. I wasn’t that great of an instrumentalist either. Sure, I thought I was, but all the evidence pointed to the fact that my ego was just a little bit blown out of proportion.
I slowly pulled away from the world of music, and stopped singing. Stopped listening to music. Only pulled my trumpet out when forced to.
Fast-forward 10 years, and for some reason, along with the dormant emotions that have suddenly woken up, I’m suddenly singing and playing again. Not because I’m being forced to, but because I genuinely want to. My voice has changed. Looking back, I realize that my voice wasn’t the greatest in the world, but I really did have a beautiful soprano voice. It’s now more mezzo-soprano, but I’m okay with that. I don’t even care if people hear me sing, I’m singing for my own pleasure. There’s a joy in it that I’m rediscovering.
Two days ago, I mentioned to mom how surprised I was by the fact I was singing. I told her that for the first time in forever I actually wanted to sing, and I’d been catching myself singing all the time. Mom just looked at me and said, “You’re happy.” Which, oddly enough, is what a friend on Facebook said, yesterday, when I mentioned that out of the blue I’d lost 10 pounds.
I guess I am happy. It’s weird. I’ve not felt truly happy and at peace in a long time (and by long time I mean 10 years). I’ve got a job I love, other aspects of my life are starting to make some sense, and I can honestly say that life is generally good. So, I’m going to be silly, and probably talk to much, and possibly be a general annoyance, but it’s been so long since I’ve even wanted to be any of those things, I’m okay with it.
A few weeks ago, I got to thinking about anatomy. The stuff on the inside makes sense to me (liver, kidneys, brain, heart, etc…). There’s a purpose to all of it, and it all looks pretty cool, too. Then I got to thinking about all the parts of our bodies that are actually visible. Which led to me sending the following text to one of my best friends:
“Nipples are weird. Basically we’ve all got these little buttons made of flesh. Doesn’t that seem weird?”
The reply? “Have you been drinking? That is so random…haha.”
I hadn’t been drinking, but the point remains that I find the whole concept of nipples to be really bizarre. Sure, they serve a purpose as far as nursing goes. However, if you’re not nursing, they end up just being these weird, almost mole-like protrusions on your chest. And almost everyone on the planet has them. (I’m assuming that there are people that are born without them.) That’s weird, right?
Also, I’m thinking that I don’t appreciate my friends nearly enough. Only the truly awesome friends will still acknowledge they know you even after they receive text messages contemplating the purposes of various parts of anatomy.
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.