the aftershocks of 2016

I’m still feeling physically a little meh. The US führer-elect is still tweeting.

I have composed, per usual, in my head a couple dozen various summaries of the year that tried to break us all in some way or another. Not that it’s not mostly documented on Instagram or whatnot. But I need to review before I revise here in the new year . . .

So I may get to the reflection, but mostly I want to say that I spent a chunk of this year working on genealogy projects. Mostly my own or ones I am studying for fun, but sometimes others. And I am developing a way to do more of this work in the world. But in 2016, I finally tested my DNA. And consequently discovered my maternal grandfather’s parentage. He was adopted. And based on what I know now, we would never have discovered the truth via traditional paper documents. It’s been a journey. But the story is long and for another day. As a collector and a completionist of sorts, I want to celebrate 2016 as the year I know the likeness of each and all of my great grandparents, which given the outrageously epic tales of at least three of those couples, is pretty impressive.


While I am here and typing, let’s see the year as I recall it:

My parents visited us in Virginia before we went on vacation with Hayden and Jordan. Disney trip #1. Highlights included seeing Illuminations from a private balcony and taking a side journey to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The drag was then hearing about the death of Alan Rickman while in the throes of food poisoning or whatever that was.

When we got home it SNOWED. A LOT. It was pretty and peaceful being totally homebound actually. I directed a children’s production that I loved working on. I did some really fun research with some of the archives at the museum. I had fun costume changes in a production of Dog Sees God. I took photos at baptism and weddings, for headshots and baby shoots and recitals. I got to work at the one room schoolhouse in my great grandma’s dress she made in the 60s.

I saw so many shows and so many more than once. I saw a friend in Fun Home and saw Do I Hear a Waltz with John and Frank. I saw She Loves Me. And Dear Evan Hansen before and after it transferred to Broadway. I saw The Color Purple on a whim and then had to take Kevin back before it closed. I saw Finding Neverland, which I didn’t love but was mesmerized when I saw it. I saw Hamilton. Again. (ducks) And met a friend to lead me backstage. That may have been the same day I went to the live Ham4Ham when it was INSANE but totally worth it because PATTI LUPONE. I saw Bright Star with Mason. I saw my first shows at 54 Below. A double bill with Jo Ann. On Halloween I saw The Shining parody. I saw CATS with Keith from the front row. Waitress, too and then again because I wanted to go with Jo Ann and knew Kevin would love it. And I saw Falsettos. With all the right people.

In fact. I see so many shows alone. And when people are with me, it isn’t always as important as it was this year. I think most of my experiences were better because they were so well shared.

Back in the real world ALL THE PEOPLE, or at least my best gays, got married or engaged. Jordan and Hayden’s wedding dominated Spring into June.
Then I went on vacation. To Disney. AGAIN. This time with mom and dad and Kevin and Chris and Monna. Tarpan Springs on the way. Fourth of July in St. Augustine on the way home.

I did so many things TWICE in 2016. I got super ill pukey twice and ugly colds twice. hahaha.  I went to Disney and St. Augustine twice. I saw a bunch of shows twice.

But I also went to the Morgan Library and its fabulous Bronte exhibit twice. I saw Becky twice in two months. And Rachelle twice after not meeting for so very long. I saw my friend Rachel twice, once with a baby inside and once outside!!!

I went to the Wild Goose Festival.

I went to Chicago! I soaked in the museums and spent a few days with a college friend I hadn’t seen in way too many years.

I got a tattoo.
I ate at Shift a ton and ran the one-act play festival.
I ate pears and fig and goat cheese and danced cooking with friends on the Autumnal Equinox.

I spent my birthday in NYC. Andy sang me the best Happy Birthday.
If I had a video, you’d be watching it.

I had an amazing brunch with my friend Trisha.

I did a murder mystery with the greatest cast.

(There was an election.)

I finally had that awesome slumber party with Leigh. Well worth the wait.
I got to help decorate the Stone House for Christmas
and took Kevin to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
And I slept at my parents on Christmas night.
Can anything be more magical than that?


This year so was. In good ways, and some trying.

I almost forgot to mention half way through the year, I became unemployed.
And it is okay.

My word for 2016 was LET.

It made it easier to ride the waves.

preparing for El Día de los Muertos

The weather has been sooooo damp.
I have delayed molding sugar skulls, knowing they won’t set up.

So I have shifted focus to making icons to add to the altar this year.
Normally, I am all about pulling out bits of paper and collage making to my hearts content—fingers all covered in mod podge and whatnot.
But with the cold and the already cluttered living space, I opted to go digital.
WhhoooOOOOooooo scary.

  • Scanned in old black and white snapshots of my beloved and departed grandparents.
  • Sloppily added faint coloring in photoshop and layered a starburst pattern to give the effect religious iconography.
  • Then I slapped some vintage clip art and text in the spirit of Day of the Dead and voila!


If you want to do something similar Picmonkey has a Day of the Dead section. But many of the elements are part of the paid features and I was too cheap. But it would totally be worth the 4 dollars for the month to make some cool icons or add skull features to your profile pic!

Here’s the profile picture I did there last year . . .

A great holiday!


Some vintage 70’s Christmas for your pleasure. 🙂

Hope everyone had a beautiful holiday . . .

I just got back and am currently recovering from a nasty flu and resulting infection. But mostly needing a vacation to recover from vacation!

Back again soon with much to say.

A Midsummer Day’s Nightmare (or Three Lessons from this Moon)

I want to talk about
— how HOT it’s been. Oppressively so.
— how I’ve gone swimming– something I have never done with regularity outside of vacations until now
— but now that nature has changed her mind and it is unseasonably cool, complaining about the heat seems silly

Lesson 1: Take Advantage of Reprieve

I want to tell stories
— about how CRAZY the June full moon turned out to be
— about how dramatic and scary and surreal the experience is of avoiding the nearby gunshots of an active shooter.
— about how hiding out in a room with a dozen people and no windows is traumatic in and of itself, especially when two of those people are your parents
— but it is over and everyone departed the ordeal unharmed, so that seems like enough

Lesson 2: Give Thanks Everyday for Health and Safety

I want to post pictures
— after all that’s how I usually convince myself to post
— after all properly processing and uploading one adventure before heading into the next seems sensible enough
— alas, sensible does not win out over furious summer livin’!

Lesson 3: Accept What Is

The (Complete) Best of 2009 Blog Challenge

Gwen Bell inspired bloggers to reflect on their personal bests of 2009.

December 1 Trip.  

Florida in May.  Even with the monsoon. 

vac 178

December 2 Restaurant Moment.

Tout Va Bien, always. Probably the meal with Keith and Andrea.  We had a blast.!


And Ohana at the Polynesian Resort, WDW. Even with the travel bug that hit us immediately after.

December 3 Article. .

Those Aren’t Fighting Words by Laura Munson

December 4 Book.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I had been wanting to read it and found multiple copies at a great price—convinced my book club ladies to read it with me.

December 5 Night out

Mexican food on this balcony and a walk around my favorite city, St. Augustine.

vac 180 . . .

December 6 Workshop or conference

WV Arts Assembly 

aa09 3

It was on the Business of the Arts . . . and mostly I learned that I have a community right here where I live.

December 7 Blog find of the year. 

I am loving Elsa Mora’s style blog, The Hidden Seed.

December 8 Moment of peace.  


Sunrise at North Myrtle Beach

 December 9 Challenge.

Having to continue to deal with a number of situations that I have no control over, but which remained unresolved through most of the year.  But goodness, was all of that minor when compared to all the great living. 

December 10 Album of the year.  What’s rocking your world?

I am giving this one to Ingrid Michaelson, as much for her live performance on the Everybody tour as for the new album.

michaelson 1


December 11 The best place. 

 21 fs 09

Ft. Sibert. Mountains! Summer!

December 12 New food. 

I finally love curry.

December 13 What’s the best change you made to the place you live?

see my previous post.

December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?

At the Final Broadway Performance of the musical Spring Awakening.


The curtain call was a force unto itself.

Tom Hulce read these Sondheim lyrics sent by the choreographer Bill Jones from London for the occasion since he couldn’t be present:

‘With so little to be sure of,
If there’s anything at all.
If there’s anything at all,
I’m sure of here and now and us together.
Thanks for everything we did,
Everything that’s past,
Everything’s that’s over too fast.
None of it was wasted,
All of it will last:
Everything that’s here and now and us together.
It was marvelous to know you
And it isn’t really through.
Crazy business this, this life we live in-
Can’t complain about the time we’re given-
With so little to be sure of in this world,
We had a moment.
A marvelous moment.’

No dry eyes.

December 15 Best packaging.

I just love it when small companies and individual artists put effort and love into their packaging!

You can read blogger of bloggers, Heather Armstrong, gush about one of my faves here. 

December 16 Tea of the year.


Celestial Seasonings Green Tea with Antioxident Supplement—Not particularly exotic, but it got me HOOKED on green tea.

December 17 Word or phrase

"2009 was so full of ______________”

just plain goodness.

December 18 Shop.

I’ve been buying less. But I have to go with Amazon because I can never stop buying books! 

and ”Gabes” —good stuff for cheap!

December 19 Car ride.

So many! Rode with Rachel, Hannah and John to the beach.   


In May, the road to and from Florida was so much fun.  The ride to NYC with Andrea was an ADVENTURE.  Driving to NYC in August with Jim was fun. Anytime you sing “In the Heights” at the top of your voice, its a good time.

But I have a special place for my solitary ride home on the train after Thanksgiving. 

thanks 09 48

 December 20 New person.

Again, there are many.

Jim, Odette, Rachael, Roz . . .


potluck 23

picnic 6

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you’re proud of?

I have finally, in earnest STARTED purging “things”. I’m far from done.  But in 2009 I started and have every intention of continuing until my connection to objects feels light and buoyant.

messy studio 2

December 22 Startup.

Once Google stopped further development on Google Notes, I decided I should find an alternative.  I knew there had to be one—and one better—or they wouldn’t have abandoned it.  What I found was Evernote.  I can easily clip articles and quotes like before.  Better yet, I know it has an untapped potential that I may someday discover.  In the meantime I use it faithfully to to store the gems I find on the web.

December 23 Web tool.

oooh this best list is getting so techy.  I stick by Evernote.

Though I am also pretty tied to StumbleUpon.

December 24 Learning experience. What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?

I think I have finally stopped devoting myself to people who are not devoted to me.

December 25 Gift. What’s a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

mb logo

December 26 Insight or aha! moment. What was your epiphany of the year?

December 27 Social web moment.

I journeyed east to meet up with some lovely women I met in the Mondo Beyondo ecourse.

mb bw 1mb bw 2mb bw 5

December 28 Stationery.

Oddly enough, my stationary find of the year was all the stationary I hoarded as a teenager. I used to love it so much I wouldn’t want to use it! Now I am enjoying the fruits of my neurosis!

December 29 Laugh. What was your biggest belly laugh of the year?

nyc 23

My favorite laugh probably wasn’t mine, it was Jim’s. We laughed alot. Especially on this random night in NYC. Of course, I likely had my deepest belly laugh when Jim chickened out diving backwards off the diving board!

December 30 Ad.

I have never loved Star Wars, but if anyone could convince me, it would be Disney. 

December 31 Resolution you wish you’d stuck with. (You know, there’s always next year…)

I have SO never made resolutions. 

Photo Post: Vacation 2009 has come to an end.

Here are a few fine photos of the vacation event, until I can get more online!


It’s true– Disney is still beautiful and magical, even in the rain!


This was our first time at Epoct during the flower and garden festival.
It is stunning– again, even in the rain! 🙂
This was taken in the butterfly garden that is set up there. Amazing.


I FINALLY saw Finding Nemo, The Musical at Animal Kingdom.
I was too lazy to wait in line last time we were there.
But it was sooo worth the wait.
Michael Curry, who designed The Lion King puppets, designed this show as well.
And the show was scored by Robert Lopez, one of the creator/composers of Avenue Q and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Peter Brosius, the Artistic Director of The Children’s Theatre in Minneapolis (winner of the Tony for Outstanding Regional Theatre Tony during his tenure), directed the show.
All this talent that went into the production was definitely matched by the Disney cast talent.
I was actually quite impressed!


BATS! One was fighting to pass the other on its way to a piece of juicy lettuce.
Somehow we ALWAYS miss the Maharaja Trail in Animal Kingdom.
Don’t make that mistake! The setting is one of Indian ruins and it is lush and gorgeous.
And there are tigers! ROAR. And a peaceful bird garden.


I just love the Star Tours/ Tatooine Traders building at Hollywood Studios.
And I needed to celebrate here that we were there the FIRST day of the FIRST Star Wars Weekend.
It was madness!


This is the statue of Mary feeding the baby Jesus.

Breastfeeding. If it’s good enough for the Blessed Mother and Jesus, then it’s good enough for the rest of us!

It is the Our Lady of La Leche Shrine on the grounds of the Mission of Nombre de Dios.
This is my favorite place on Earth.
Really. And it has been my entire life.


If I ever disappear suddenly and of my own will,
you will most certainly find me living the life of an artist, historian,
and beach bum in St. Augustine, Florida.

Here’s 100 Things About Me

Heidi is good at:
parallel parking
standardized tests
word games
naming all 50 states, quickly

Heidi is rotten at:
routine and schedules
playing instruments
raising plants
lowering expectations
being sick
telling jokes
accepting injustice

Heidi is obsessed with:
scarves, socks and dangle-y earrings
fancy toiletries

here’s the 100 things . . .

deadly sins

1. Who did you last get angry with? most likely my spouse.
2. What is your weapon of choice? a VERY sharp tongue.
3. Would you hit a member of the opposite sex? I have. I would need to be in serious danger.
4. How about of the same sex? same as above.
5. Who was the last person who got really angry at you? Kev, i guess. but i doubt it was “really” angry.
6. What is your pet peeve? SUV-driving, cigarette-smoking, cell-phone-talking Sorority girls. and one of those elements will be a mild annoyance as well.
7. Do you keep grudges, or can you let them go easily? I let things go very easily in practice.
I won’t “let” myself hold one, but I have to say I do not forget easily at ALL.

1. What is one thing you’re supposed to do daily that you haven’t done in a long time? oh god. exercise.
2. What is the latest you’ve ever woken up? latest? in relation to WHAT? I keep a schedule that doesn’t resemble normalcy. Let’s just say 8pm, for fun.
3. Name a person you’ve been meaning to contact, but haven’t? my mother’s father who lives in Florida.
4. What is the last lame excuse you made? I didn’t get a chance to.
5. Have you ever watched an infomercial all the way through (one of the long ones…)? no.
6. When was the last time you got a good workout in? November or December. yikes.
7. How many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock today? I didn’t today, but you could say I sleep with one finger on it.

1. What is your overpriced yuppie beverage of choice? I don’t think I drink overpriced yuppie beverages . . .
2. Meat eaters: white meat or dark meat? not alot of either, but both when I crave them.
3. What is the greatest amount of alcohol you’ve had in one sitting/outing/event? probably 5.
4. Have you ever used a professional diet company? nono
5. Do you have an issue with your weight? not with my weight, but i have issues with food. there is a difference, i promise.
6. Do you prefer sweets, salty foods, or spicy foods? they all sound good. sugar would be the hardest to give up.
7. Have you ever looked at a small housepet or child and thought, “LUNCH!”? WTF?!

1. How many people have you seen naked (not counting movies/family)? I couldn’t begin to count. That I can individually recall, maybe 15?
2. How many people have seen YOU naked (not counting physicians/family)? not counting groups showers, etc. Let’s say 9 or 10.
3. Have you ever caught yourself staring at the chest/crotch of a member of your gender of choice during a normal conversation? no.
4. Have you “done it”? What a lame way to phrase the qustion that implies.
5. What is your favorite body part on a person of your gender of choice? small of back– on any gender
6. Have you ever been propositioned by a prostitute? unfortunately, yes.
7. Have you ever had to get tested for an STD or pregnancy? nope. wait, i have have pregnancy tests at the ER, during emergency testing.

1. How many credit cards do you own? 3? I think.
2. What’s your guilty pleasure store? Borders
3. If you had $1 million, what would you do with it? pay off student loans, buy family a house, invest a little and give a whole lot away.
4. Would you rather be rich, or famous? Well, I don’t want to be famous, so let’s say rich. But I am not “working on it” and if it happened my life wouldn’t appear any different. I’d just give alot more often to charities, etc.
5. Would you accept a boring job if it meant you would make megabucks? hell no.
6. Have you ever stolen anything? oh sure. lot’s of random ashtrays, salt and pepper shakers, real estate signs, annoying lawn decorations . . . I grew up in small town WV– that was a Saturday night. But never from a store.
7. How many MP3s are on your hard drive? maybe 20, all legal. On the other computer maybe 30. but we won’t talk about cds burned . . .

1. What one thing have you done that you’re most proud of? this is hard. i dunno. I am happy to be able to give to others. maybe working in professional theatre.
2. What one thing have you done that your parents are most proud of? college? they are parents– they are proud of alot.
3. What thing would you like to accomplish in your life? be happy. help others do that however I can. Make more art and get it out in the world.
4. ???
5. Have you ever entered a contest of skill, knowing you were of much higher skill than all the other competitors? yes.
6. Have you ever cheated on something to get a higher score? yes.
7. What did you do today that you’re proud of? ugh. not a damn thing.

1. What item (or person) of your friends would you most want to have for your own? person? I can think of a few I would like the ability to be around more. Item? can’t think of any. maybe someone’s house. . . a really historic one!
2. Who would you want to go on “Trading Spaces” with? I think having someone else design a room in my house would be a nightmare. But at least Andy and I could have fun with it . . . yeah maybe anz.
3. If you could be anyone else in the world, who would you be? no one who is living . . .
4. Have you ever been cheated on? not physically. but i have been betrayed.
5. Have you ever wished you had a physical feature different from your own? smaller boobs, please.
6. What inborn trait do you see in others that you wish you had for yourself? is height a trait? let’s say confidence, otherwise.
7. Do you wish you’d come up with this survey? No, but I am sensing the author was wishing someone might envy him/her. LOL.

Finally, what is your favorite deadly sin? I don’t think that’s something to have a favorite. But hey, if we’re glorifying one, let’s go with Lust. heheh

The Seven Heavenly Virtues

1. What religion do you follow? many elements of many religions.
2. What religion were you raised as? I was raised in the Church of the Brethren.
3. Do you believe that forgiveness is a religious property, or a human property? human, but I believe it is linked to the spirit of humanity. I don’t think any religion should “own” it, per say.
4. Do you believe in magic? defined as…? Oh yes. Defining it would take away it’s mysteries. But I know it when I see it!
5. What was the last promise you broke? Oh, I am sure I promised to do some household task and didn’t. *sigh*
6. Have you ever said the words to a prayer and not meant it? I went to CATHOLIC school. whaddayu think?
7. Do you believe that anyone could be perfect? By nature, perfection is mostly unattainable. In a way I think all things are perfect. And yet, nothing is.
Anyway, imperfection is what makes things INTERESTING.

1. Did you get everything you wanted over the last holiday season? sure.
2. Regarding your future, what is the best thing you could hope for? good health for myself and those closest to me.
3. Do you let yourself get your hopes up for something even if you know that there is a large chance of failure? oh yes.
4. ???
5. Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? yes, a couple times. I just like scratching off the instant ones. hehhe
6. Do you gamble? with what? lol.
7. Have you ever had something called off on account of bad weather, but then gone ahead and done it anyway? um. maybe. if i knew exactly what the hell that meant.

1. What causes do you support? oh lots.
2. What causes have you given money or time to? money to the march of dimes, time to a lot of homeless shelters, work camps, and immigrant organizations
4. Would you ever consider joining the Peace Corps, Amnesty International, or another travel? oh yeah. I will do Brethren Volunteer Service at some point for sure.
5. Do you give money to the homeless on the street? sometimes. I like to buy food for people, especially.
6. Have you ever helped out a friend with basic needs, like rent or food? Yes, and I have had them live with me. And I think, in total, a number of friends owe me about 600$. It always comes back . . . one way or another.
7. What’s the greatest extent you’ve gone to help a friend in need? I would say having them live with me is pretty far (especially just a month or so after getting marieed. lol). But I’ve done other things, too.

1. What are you most afraid of? severe illness.
2. What did you do today that was really brave? today was pretty much wasted. heheh
3. Who is your favorite superhero, and why? Spiderman, for silly sentimental reasons.
4. Would you put your life in danger to rescue someone? yes, anytime
5. If you were to face the Wizard, would you want more courage, more brains, or more heart? courage.
6. Have you ever gotten stage fright? not really.
7. Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower? naturally, a leader. but i mostly prefer not to.

1. Have you ever been summoned for jury duty? no.
2. If they reinstituted the draft (for both genders), would you go, or would find some way out of it? conscientious objection
3. Do you support capital punishment (the death penalty)? nope.
4. Which should be guaranteed legal? I think this might have said drugs . . . . I am fine with them being illegal. I kind of think legalizing prostitution might help though because it could be monitored.
5. Do you believe that Dubya is rightfully President of the USA? In a system that clearly has some flaws. It’s “rightful.” But I don’t believe he had the popular vote, no.
6. What was your favorite media circus trial? eh. not a big fan. But the Iran Contra hearings are the first I remember . . .
7. Have you ever written a letter to a politician? plenty of times. I always have something to say!

1. What do you have the hardest time moderating yourself on? food. buying books.
2. Do you collect anything? eh. books i guess.
3. Are you addicted to anything? probablly this damn computer– and soda
4. Have you ever put anything on layaway or used an installment plan? i don’t think so. maybe an installment plan.
5. What’s your preferred method of paying for things? debit card.
6. Tell us one thing you wish you hadn’t let yourself do? A few occasions where I genuinely made a fool of myself or said something I shouldn’t have.
7. Do you feel that you obsess over things? not too much. Unless I lose something.

1. Who is the wisest person you know? my mom and dad are damned sage.
2. Have you ever participated in a vigil? yes.
3. Do you take advice when it’s given? I consider it, yes.
4. What area are you wisest in? lots of unusual facts, common sense, understanding people
5. Do you drive defensively? uh huh
6. Have you ever had unprotected sex outside of marriage? no.
7. What did you learn today? that you shouldn’t take surveys like this at 4am when you have to work the next day. I think this will be even more clear to me as the day progresses. . . .
8. And of course, what is your favorite heavenly virtue? Hope is paramount. Justice is what I’d like to see even more of . . .

bio survey

survey time!

1. Where were you born: October 30, 1975
2. Where were you born: Cumberland, MD
3. What was your first grade teacher’s name: Mrs. Heare
4. What was your first pets name and what was it: goldfish. john travolta. it WAS the 70s . . .
5. What was your worst accident (medical): headfirst into a bed railing at 3 maybe . . . busted my nose right between my eyes. still have a scar.
6. What was your favorite cartoon: scooby doo
7. Who was your first best friend: kelly lived on my street and cousin samantha
8. When was the first time you ever went on a plane: november 1993, to NYC to hang with some guys i met in theatre
9. Who was your first boyfriend: yeah, um i didn’t “date” that way.
10. What was your favorite song when you were in the 5th grade: something by the Beatles . . .
11. What was your favorite movie in the 2nd grade: Annie. LOL.
12. What did you want to be when you grew up: I always hated that question. still do. lol. a dancer. a teacher, maybe.
13. What used to be your favorite color: green
14. What was your favorite subject: art, english
15. Did you ever wet your pants at school: NO.
16. Did you ever get sent to the principal: I don’t thinks so. no.
17. Did you ever start a food fight: no. boring, eh?
18. What was your worst fear: lightning
19. What was your favorite toy: dolls.
20. Did you ever suck your thumb: nope.

read more . . .