Eclipsed

Finally!  Someone posted pictures from my daughter, Chloe’s, grad play at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.  The play she was cast in is titled “Eclipsed” by Patricia Burke Brogan, directed by Amir Korangy.

The play was about a Magdalene laundry, a home for “fallen” women in Ireland.  Patricia Burke Brogan’s fictional characters represent a cross-section of women who, despite their deprived conditions and suffocating atmosphere of these forced labor camps, hold on to the last of their individual hopes and aspirations, using any opportunity to act as free spirits.  Very powerful play…funny and heartbreaking.  Here are some pictures of the stellar cast and my Chloe as Nellie-Nora.

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The mannequin is Elvis!

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I wish this was a longer running play, because I would see it again and again!  This is the first production I have seen Chloe in since High School.  I saw tremendous growth in Chloe.  She nailed an Irish accent and learned to smoke! The whole cast was strong with great ensemble work .  It is very gratifying as a parent to watch your children reach some of their goals and grow as people.

I know I seem to write a lot about Chloe, but it’s because she’s chosen an artist’s path which is media driven.  I’m very proud of my two boys as well, but it’s a bit tricky getting current pictures of them for the blog! They are not as forthcoming!

Highs and Lows

I traveled to Los Angeles last week to see my daughter’s final Grad Play and her graduation from The American Academy Of Dramatic Arts.  This Acting Conservatory is not a joke, turning out the likes of Grace Kelly, Spencer Tracy, Robert Redford, Danny DeVito, Paul Rudd, Sarah Paulson, Jessica Chastain, French Stewart, Kim Catrell… and the list goes on and on.  If you are a parent, you know the complete overwhelming happiness that envelopes you when you see your children succeed and also when they are happy in their personal lives.  I saw tremendous growth in my daughter’s performance in her Grad Play titled “Eclipsed”.  I was in awe.  She was always wonderful in her performances in High School (and yes, I am biased), but this performance really shook me up.  She has been well prepared to compete in the big leagues.  I saw her use skills I’ve never seen her use before, like a flawless Irish accent, smoking on stage, and a dramatic moment that was completely organic and not contrived.  The whole cast (all female) did some tremendous ensemble work.

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And now on to Graduation!

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Graduation was held at The Dolby Theater, the place they hold the Oscars every year.  Pretty cool, huh?  I was near the front, so I couldn’t help but wonder whose famous bum has sat in my seat!  There were some great speeches.  Very different from your standard graduation speeches, because the life of an artist has so many unknowns and roads to take.  Each of the graduates on stage will make (or have thrust upon) very different careers.  Many of them will give up because the entertainment business is cruel and hard, but a few will persevere and keep striving to achieve the career they were meant to have.  So many unknowns, so many variables.  It takes a lot of courage to keep trying when the odds are stacked against you.  This fact may depress some parents, but not me.  I know that Chloe has a drive and an intact sense of self that is unshakable.  She will succeed because she is hungry for it, won’t take no for an answer.  She is also very talented, beautiful, and unique.

My graduate and her favorite person!  Yes, that’s a photo of Meryl Streep winning one of her Oscars!

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Sooo Cute!!!  Don’t they look happy?!

Behind the scenes at the Dolby:

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Good Looking actors!

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This above, I believe, was Chloe’s Othello to her Desdemona.

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I think the person in the very background of this photo was an actor from the T.V. show “Ray Donovan”, who spoke at the ceremony.

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And there it is!  The Diploma ChloeJane worked so hard for the last 2 years.

Oh, and here is the dress I wore for the ceremony (for those middle-aged fashionistas about what to wear to a graduation):

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I know my daughter was excited to have me come out, but I know it was this young man who drove all the way from Logan, UT.  that made the last week very special and memorable for her, so thanks, John!

I’m excited for next year when Jim and I will be heading out to Ohio for my son, Keegan’s graduation!

The whole week was such a blur because it had these incredible emotional high’s, basking in Chloe’s success and happiness, but also there were rock bottom lows.  You see, my mother (who I was staying with during my visit) has been fighting a terminal illness for quite some time now.  At the beginning of her diagnosis there was some hope, but now with the passing of time, I believe that there will be no miracles for my mother, and that’s very hard to come to terms with.

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One of the hardest parts of ageing is that you start losing loved ones along the way.  The other stuff I can deal with, but this aspect of life is hard.  I think I will leave it at that right now because I’m very angry about my mother’s situation.  I just can’t find the words to describe my feelings about it, other than the word “angry”.

 

My Adult Disneyland

I was lucky enough to grow up close to Disneyland as a kid.  I also enjoyed it as an adult taking my young family there and seeing it through their eyes when we still lived in Southern California.  I haven’t been back to Disneyland for many years, but have now found a place right here in my hometown of Austin, TX called “The Stitch Lab”!  The Stitch Lab is a fabric store which also host “how to” classes from the many aspects of clothing construction, quilting, oilcloth, jewelry making…just about anything your little D.I.Y. heart desires!  They even have classes for men!  I’ve taken 5 classes from them so far and a private class with an instructor on how to operate my new serger as there was no way in hell I was going to figure this machine out without some help!  The atmosphere of the shop feeds creativity and I always feel uplifted after completing a class.  I’ve met so many nice people and the classes kind of have a social party atmosphere, especially if you take a class from Niku!

Here is my latest class project from the “Simple Skirts” class where we learned to draft a pattern according to our own personal measurements:

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I bought a few Clothing Patterns here from small independent pattern makers and found that they are much more clear with their instructions, unlike the patterns made from the big companies (McCalls, Butterick, Simplicity, Burda, ect.).  Many of them put their instructions in booklet form with many illustrations. They are also very hip and unique in their designs.

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I kinda dig the idea of not looking like everyone with else with their latest purchases from H&M, Forever 21, Gap and so on….  You can do that with independent patterns and the whole slew of fabric choices.  I’m just impatient because it is taking me awhile to quire some skill.  I want what I want and I want it now!!!  If anything, sewing has certainly helped me to develop some patience.

This is going to be my next project with a pattern from www.sewaholic.com and fabric by Gertie Hirsch purchased from JoAnn’s:

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Yes, another skirt, but in the summer, I’m a skirt and dress girl all the way.  You know…natural air-conditioning!

So what is your “Adult Disneyland”?  What makes you feel like a kid again?  What activity do you do or where do you go as an adult (besides the bar and drinking) that gives you joy?

Adult Coloring Books

Lately, I’ve been noticing a growing inventory of adult coloring books at Half Price Books.  Coloring book for adults, you ask?  Actually, coloring is suppose to be a really good reducer of stress.  I’ve kept passing up on the ones at Half Price Books, even though I was intrigued, but I found these on Amazon and jumped on these:

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Amazon has a slew of fashion coloring books!  You can pick whatever era you want!  Most of them come with some written history of the time period, so it is also educational!

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I remember loving to color as a kid ( I can’t draw anything other than stick people), so that added with period fashion is a win-win for me!

I gave in and picked these up at Half Price Books:

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I don’t know if my stress level is reduced while using these, but I am having fun!

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On another note…look what I found at the Austin airport a couple of weeks back!  I figured I needed a Texas tee since I’ve been a resident for almost 10 years.

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Tee styled with Madewell mules and cropped bootcut jeans.  Perfect for our perfect 76 degrees today!

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Glory, Glory Hallelujah!

I have an announcement to make…drum roll please…I AM NOW OFFICIALLY OUT OF THE RETAIL CLOTHING BUSINESS!!!!!!!  “What the What?”, you say.  “This can’t be true!  The Bonnie Busick I know is a clothes whore, loves clothes, sometimes uses clothes as a form of self-expression and therefore a slave to clothing employee discounts!”  While much of this is still true, the retail clothing environment has become a toxic place to work for me.  Not because of co-workers.  I’ve worked and met some of the best people on the planet.  No, my friends, it’s the retail customer that I have issue with and more recently, the re-sale customer.

I’ve worked retail on and off for about 20 years and I’ve watched retail and the retail customer evolve and change to a more self-involved, mean spirited, narcissistic creature who yells, cusses, throws clothing, flicks you the bird, and name calls when they don’t get what they want.  They don’t give a second thought about taking out their life’s troubles on the poor, unsuspecting  retail employee behind the counter who doesn’t have a clue what is going on in said customer’s life.  All they know is that they are getting abused and they don’t know why.  It comes out of nowhere because of one little word…”no”.  “No, I’m sorry.  We are out of that item.”  “No, I’m sorry.  We cannot purchase the items you brought in to sell because they do not meet our guidelines.”  Well, you get the picture.  It got to the point where when a customer who I did or did not know would come in, my blood pressure would go up 10 points because I knew they are normally difficult or because I didn’t know them or if they would be difficult, so I would brace myself for a potential conflict if I knew the  word “no” was going to be part of the interaction.

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I think part of aging gracefully is knowing when you are licked and realizing that life is too short to be so dreadfully unhappy about one aspect (or more) of your life.  I turned 49 last month and knew it was time to move in a different direction and like manna from heaven, I saw a “now hiring” sign in a window, which lead to my new job.  It’s a positive, happy place, in line with my values and today was my first day of orientation and I knew today that this was a wise move.  It jives with my beliefs in slow fashion, slower consumption.  I will be working for an Austin based company called “Snap Kitchen” which provides a healthy fast-food option made only with ingredients you can pronounce in biodegradable containers.  Even the employee uniform is provided by American Appearal!  The more I learn about the company, the more excited I get!

So come and visit me!  I will be at the Avery Ranch location on Parmer…just a two minute drive from my house!  I should probably look into getting a bike because the commute is so short!

 

https://local.yahoo.com/info-192411495-snap-kitchen-austin

 

 

An Unintentional Break

I’ve noticed that it has been awhile since I last posted.  My new sewing hobby is taking most of my free time!  I was also in Los Angeles visiting my family and my daughter, Chloe, who is going to school there.  I came armed with several of my self-made tote bags and skirts and was gratified to see my nieces excited about them!

In my last post, I mentioned how much I wanted a serger to make sewing knits a little easier for me to sew.  Well, thanks to the unfortunate fact that Hancock Fabrics is going out of business nationwide, I was able to get a serger for a steal.  I also had a private lesson at The Stitch Lab downtown to learn how to use this device.  I’m not a pro by any means, but I can do the basics.  I needed the private lesson because there was no way I was going to learn how to use it by reading the manual or watching the dvd provided…too vague.  I’m definitely a visual learner.  I have a hard time learning anything mechanical/technical.  I need a lot of hand-holding to learn things of this nature.  Attempting to learn how to sew at this kind of late stage in my life has been a second lesson in patience.  The first lesson was raising children.  I want what I want and I want it two days ago!IMG_3016

There have been many hours studying patterns that use a language that seems like Chinese to me and I’ve spent many an hour getting to know my seam ripper very well.  I’ve had more defeats than triumphs at this stage, but I’m not giving up.  Want to know another strange anomaly since I’ve started to learn to sew?  I haven’t been into a clothing store in a couple of months!  I’ve replaced clothes shopping with visits to the fabric store since I’ve determined that I already have plenty of really cute clothes to hold me over until I develop the skills to make my own wardrobe.  Yup…that’s the goal.  I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m determined!

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See…plenty of cute clothes to hold me over while I hone my skills!

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Picking up books here and there to help this slow learner!

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I made these pajama shorts for the hubby because he’s a Husker.  PJ pants will be my next project to bring to my nieces in L.A. next month when I go back for Chloe’s graduation.  I try to remember the saying “Little by little, drop by drop, a little becomes a lot”.  Seems to be the case with most things in life.

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