Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Un-Follow

I become so sad when someone "un-follows" me.  I mean, you have to go totally out of your way to find the option to stop following a blog.  What makes someone so interested in hanging on my every word and then so disinterested?

So, number 39, whomever you were, I miss you!  I feel like I've been broken up with...

Anyone wanna be new number 39 or 40?!?

Christmas Cessation

When is it diplomatic to cease the playing of Christmas music?

I'm of the opinion that date is December 31.  Dayton International Airport clearly agrees with me, as evidenced by their playing of Christmas music over the speakers this very morning.  Way to be, Ohio!

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last Week

Last week was quite good to me.

I don't talk about work much, as my professional life stays in the office, but I have been getting a tremendous amount of work accomplished.  *Drum roll* I received a salary increase!  Not too common these days and helps me feel a lot more confident in my abilities.  I already felt very confident in my work, but knowing your superiors recognize that is icing on the cake.  Perhaps not the best analogy since I don't like cake, but the point is made.  We also received a gift of a Christmas bonus - hooray for being able to go through Christmas with all-cash transactions! 

I was able to journey to downtown SLC to see the Temple Square Christmas lights, which I haven't seen in several years.  And I didn't have to drive - double good time.
I spent a great evening in with my friend/temporary roommate just chatting, having dinner, and watching TV (something I have rarely done the past eight months).  Which leads to...

My sanctuary (condo) is my own once again. I love my dear friend who needed a place to stay for a few months, actually I love her a ton, but I also very much love having my own big girl place.  Three cheers to walking around in my short, fuzzy robe whilst covered in a face mask and not worrying.

1940s Radio Hour closed.  This isn't a good thing, but I did finish this great accomplishment of a show - probably my best work so far.  

I found a friend to house-sit/cat-sit/plant-sit/check mail for me.  I feel like a much better kitty-momma knowing someone will be around to give her snuggles and attention other than the once-daily checker.

I took a nap.  Maybe some of you are as unfamiliar with this term as I am.

I was gifted some fabulous Christmas stockings and a poinsettia. 

Two Scandelous Scenarious

Last week was an amazing week except for one thing: our Marketing Team sent out a promotional e-mail with my name attached and a phone number to call in the case the individuals had questions.
The phone number lead to a directory of skanky hotlines.  Great.

Speaking of skanky...

The other week I had to go into the skanky store on my way to a performance to get some old-fashioned nylons.  I may have had the audacity to emerge into public with curlers in my hair. When I walked in the door an alarm went off.  As if I weren't feeling awkward enough.  Then, as I was checking out, I said to the cashier, "I apologize for my appearance, I'm on my way to a show." 

Hmm...I'm in a skanky store on my way to a "show."  Probably not the best thing to say...


Wearing black tights with my dresses gives me a false sense of security.  I feel modest and covered and as if I could do a cartwheel at any moment....but not so.  Tricky.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Drive-Thru Greetings

I frequent one particular fast-food establishment that is literally in my daytime gym's parking lot and has 150-calorie meal food. 

They always greet me with, "How are you today?"

I answer, and then I wait.  And wait.

Almost never do they ask me what I want to order.  I guess they just assume that "How are you today?" translates to, "May I take your order?"

I don't want to respond to "How are you today?" with, "Two fresco taco's."  That's just silly.

Sometimes I start to order because I've figured out this little trick of theirs and they cut me off, asking me to wait.  Sometimes they actually do ask what I want.

More often than not though, I sit there in ordering anxiety silence.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blues in the Night

For the first time in eight months I have no rehearsals and no performances this week.  Not only that, this "no rehearsal/performance" time period is indefinite - nothing on the horizon.  I'm pretty excited as, regardless of if I am in a show or not, I always manage to fill every second of my spare time...there are many opportunities and friendships that I need to re-visit.  

I do, however feel a little like I'm going through a break-up.  I spent the last eight months developing strong bonds with fellow performers, the characters I'm playing, the show itself - every day dedicating every ounce of thought, emotion, and time to each other.  Then one day you sing your last rendition of "Blues in the Night," walk off that stage and it is over.  Forever.  Ouch.

There has been a chain of events - one intricately linked to the other - that has lead me to different and better places than I ever expected this year.  Especially to the place of saying I have played one of my dream roles and of accepting the thought that I might actually qualify as an actress. 

This past show was definitely the best performance I've personally created.  I never could have pulled off "Ginger Brooks" even six months ago.  If it weren't for director Michelle Groves in Bye, Bye Birdie, I would never have had faith in myself to convince an audience I was someone completely different than myself, or never have had any faith at all in my acting abilities.  She taught me more than I ever imagined while having unfailing confidence and trust in me.  If it weren't for director Lee Anderson in Damn Yankees, I never would have known I could have a strong, commanding stage presence.  Director Rosalie Richards, of 1940s Radio Hour, let me run with my ideas for a character and showed me I can create a sexy pinup girl.  She saw something in me I did not see in myself.  Who knew? 

I'll miss the stage for the next little while, but I'll be back - rested and better than ever!



Receiving Line Comments: 1940s Radio Hour

At the close of every show, I like to share some of the more humorous or touching things people have said to me as they are exiting the theater.
  • "Boy, Ginger, you twirl that baton like no one I've ever seen."
  • " moly."
  • Elderly lady in a very whispered voice, "You were my favorite.  You are so cute.  I've gotta learn to shake my hips like that."  Then she just kept giggling and telling me great job.
  • "Ginger Brooks is bringing sexy back."
  • "Man, I really want an Eskimo Pie now."
  • I say, "Thank you for coming to the show!"  The young man pulls me close and says, "No, no...Thank you."
  • "You did a little too well."
  • "Sexy Larissa is one of my new favorite things."
  • "It was hot.  The ice cream melted;-)"
  • "Woowwweee." (Larry, our drummer from "Nunsense")
  • "All the little girls around me wanted to be the girl in the red dress."
  • "What a range, huh?  You go from home town girl, to 'How sexy can I possibly be on stage?'"  
  • "You all should go perform in Yellowstone."  (?)
  • "The way you look at him during "Baby, It's Cold Outside," is the way every man dreams a woman will look at him."

Friday, December 17, 2010


At my company Christmas party, we had a twenty question company-related trivia game.  One of the questions was, "Who is our resident thespian?"
Obviously me.
One of my co-workers just informed me that several people at her table said, "I didn't know what a thespian was so I didn't want to shout out someone's name and offend them."

New Year's Eve Kiss

I have never, in my thirty years and through many boyfriends/dates, had a kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve.  Mostly coincidence. Interesting nonetheless.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dreams: More Sharks

More shark dreams last night.
I was on the lower level of a dock, parallel with the turbulent water.  We were next to a more shallow area, but there were two sharks feeding nearby.  The littler, about 8-foot, one kept swimming close and some folks warned each other (and me) to stay back a couple steps, so he couldn't slide up and nibble.  He came close to us a few times, but none of the mystified observers were in any kind of danger.  The larger shark was, well, mammoth.  His grandeur took my breath away as he would come up out of the water and snag a morsel.
I'm typically petrified, nay mortified, of sharks.  But in this dream I had this sense of awe while watching the magnificent beast.

That's it.  Nothing dramatic happened, nothing out-of-the-ordinary....except this may be the first shark dream I've had that wasn't disturbing.  Exhilarating and adrenalin-pumping, but not frightening.


I hate the awkwardness of over-apologizers.
I mean, really, after the third or fourth apology, I kinda got the point.
They might be on to something though.  They make me feel so awkward, that, even if I really am not at all happy about what they are apologizing for, I say it doesn't matter just so they will shut up.

Wow, that sounded mean, I'm sorry.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

5 Most Annoying and 5 Most Adored Christmas Songs

These are the songs that cause me to sit with my finger ready on the radio buttons, to rid myself of this obnoxious noise like a hot potato.

1. Little Drummer Boy (except for the Bing Crosby/David Bowie version)
2. Christmas Shoes
3. Happy Christmas (The War is Over)
4. The Twelve Days of Christmas
5. Do You Hear What I Hear

Ironically, the song voted most annoying by the general public (Last Christmas by Wham!) does grate my cheese, just not nearly as much as those listed above.

These songs are hot chocolate for the soul.

1. Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie/Bing Crosby 
2. I'll Be Home For Christmas - any crooner or Karen Carpenter
3. The Christmas Waltz - Karen Carpenter
4. Count Your Blessings - Bing Crosby
5. White Christmas

Ok, so I can't stop at five -here are four runners-up:

6. Little Colored Lights - Susan Egan 
7. Marshmallow World - Dean Martin
8. Merry Christmas, Darling - Karen Carpenter
9. It's not the Presents Under my Tree - Eva Cassidy

(I realized I like way too many Christmas songs, how can I not mention these gems?   Oh Holy Night, A Christmas Song, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Let it Snow!, Baby It's Cold Outside, Snow, It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Silver Bells, Joy to the World, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, Somewhere in my Memory, etc. etc. etc.)

What are your favorites or least favorites?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Elf: An Argument for Validity as a Christmas Classic

In objection to this abhorrent post regarding the movie, "Elf," I submit this entry.

I am not a Will Ferrell fan.  In fact, I can't think of a single movie of his that I enjoy.  Except for "Elf."   Something about his child-like mugging for the camera actually works in this scenario.

Does "Elf" in any way address the true meaning of Christmas?

What is the true meaning of Christmas?  A Google search of this will lead you to quite the array of Christian web sites.  So, I will tell you what I believe to be the true meaning of Christmas:  Christ's birth and a world-wide celebration of Christ-like love.

Does "Elf" touch upon this?

Yes.  Although hidden in fields of candy canes and gum drops, Christ-like love representation is obviously there.  All of the characters are skeptical of this "outcast" at first, but all of them grow to love him unconditionally, in spite of all of his flaws, whether in the North Pole as a baby or New York as an adult. This is a story of a father and son from different worlds who learn to connect. I'm not asserting this movie has a Christ-figure, simply the representation of love.

How could I say, "No. 'Elf' has no spirit of Christmas?"  There is more than enough about the holiday season that makes no sense in celebrating the birth of Christ.  If one is going to get that stingy with a definition, then we wouldn't be able to qualify most of the movies we love this time of year.  "Miracle on 34th Street," "It's a Wonderful Life," "White Christmas."  We would lose the songs that tickle our ears, "Let it Snow," again "White Christmas," "I'll be Home For Christmas, and more.  How many of them talk about the birth of Christ?  None.  Yet all of them make us feel the glow of the holiday season.

We need to be loose with our definitions of "Christmas Classics."  Does the movie make me feel warm and fuzzy and want to celebrate the holidays in a loving way?  Check!

Now, whether or not a person enjoys the movie is entirely objective and understandable.  But I don't think you can argue that "Elf" is not a new Christmas classic to many, many people out there.  Perhaps it is using all of the secular symbols of Christmas to fill it out, but it makes many smile (Smiling's my favorite!) and could warm the cockles of even old Scrooge's heart.

Christmas time, for non-Christians, has mostly metamorphosed into what translates as a season of Christ-like love instead of a celebration of Christ's birth.  Some people abhor this.  I find it fascinating and wonderful - that the whole world can gather together in a celebration of love.  For those of us who worship Christ, we can celebrate His birth, as HE is the reason for the season...while continuing to love and honor others and their beliefs.  Wouldn't Christ want us to all care for and respect each other in a generous and selfless way?

The movie constantly refers to "Christmas Cheer."  What is Christmas cheer anyway?  I think that is part of what makes this movie great.  I hear the ambiguous term and feel whatever Christmas cheer is to me.  I'm sure my definition is different from the next person.  But we can all relate to this vague concept without it being spelled out for us, whatever our beliefs are.

This truly is the most wonderful time of the year.  And I think "Elf" makes this time of year a little more wonderful for me.

The end.

PS - Ye of the "abhorrent post," you knew this was coming and you know I love you despite our conflicting beliefs:-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Story

As long as I can remember, "A Christmas Story" has been part of my family's holiday celebrations.
As a child, I'm not sure I appreciated the witty and hilariosity of it all.

We'd all gather and my grandparents' house in Lorain, Ohio for a grand family dinner and Christmas Eve present opening.  Seems I recall, however, that the sound of this particular movie could sometimes be heard wafting in from the country kitchen.  As time wore on, we transferred our gatherings to my aunt and uncle's house in Amherst.

I can, clear as day, see my uncle sitting on the couch, mesmerized with the TV.  If I heard bellowing laughter in the house, I knew it was my uncle and I knew this movie was playing.  If I heard a more high-pitched cackling, I knew it was my mother, and I know the "show me how the piggies eat" part was on.

Last year, there was a little war amongst the youngins.  I could tell whose parents had been raising them right because they were the ones arguing that the TV be left on "A Christmas Story."  The others were all about a repeat episode of "Iron Chef."  Blah.  I think I just let them have at it and fell asleep next to my dad.

Since I've been on my own, I watch this movie as party of my holiday celebrations, but in recent years have made a formal event out of it. This past Saturday I had my 4th annual "A Christmas Story" party, and, dare I say, the best one yet.

My awesome friend Dallas, equipped with a theater and an amazing living situation, agreed to co-host.  We had more treats than Santa himself could ever care for and pizza and people everywhere.

I cannot describe this feeling of warmth that rushes all through me when I hear a room full of my friends or family laughing.  I can't say enough how blessed I am!
                                               (my friend Chelsey and I in our clever shirts for the occasion)

I'll Be Home For Christmas

"I'll Be Home For Christmas," has long been one of my favorite Christmas songs.

I've always been a bit nostalgic for times gone by, when things appeared so much simpler, although we know they weren't truly any easier.  I used to read my grandparents' magazine, "Reminisce," about malt shoppes and old general stores.  We had a 1919 (?) Ford Roadster in our pole barn for the longest time - I'd hop on in the front seat and sing for hours while imagining myself back in the good old days. 

That brings me to "I'll Be Home For Christmas" - a song from 1943 war era, a song that brought a tear to the eye of every military family, a song that inspired a country to do all they could to bring their boys home to their families.

My grandfather served in the military during those times.  He passed away when I was almost fourteen.  One Christmas not long after, I was blasting the Christmas music from Time Life's Treasury of Christmas while decorating or doing whatever it is that teenage girls do on Christmas vacation.  My grandmother was in our kitchen.  In my mind's eye, I can see her standing there motionless, in front of the window/sink, with tears gliding down her cheeks while this Crosby tune played.  She shared with me a story of how she used to listen to the song when my grandfather was away.  Hearing it again brought on all of those feelings from when she was a young wife and mother, as well as the new feelings she had of longing to be with her husband.

I cannot hear this song without thinking of my grandparents.  In recent years, I sing this song and think of how my own mother misses me so and how I will do anything to be home in Ohio with them at Christmas time.  

I get to sing this song with my cast of "1940s Radio Hour," and a tender place in my heart is touched every time - especially the night we pre-dedicated our show to those in the service because one of our cast members has two sons currently abroad.

I think of all of those families, all of the love, all of the unity across the whole country - "I'll Be Home For Christmas" is not just a song, it is a symbol of a place in our hearts we may not remember most of the year, of hope, of what truly matters in life.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Email From Santa

I just got an email from Santa!
At least that's what the "from" field says.  But the subject line was, "Give the gift of Amazement! - A Package."
Yeah...I'm not going to see what Santa has to say to me...dewete!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Lately, whenever I am clicking the "delete" button, I have the overwhelming urge to, outloud, say, "Dewete!"

Glee Style

I was watching the "Special Education" episode of Glee a couple of nights ago, and, towards the end, started drooling over Rachel's dress.
Then, this thought, "That dress looks awfully familiar....wait a minute - I have that dress!"
I'd just purchased the dress at H&M in NYC.  I actually went to six H&M's to find my size cause I loved it so much.  Heck, I also got one in black. 
Is it a good thing or a bad thing to have Glee Rachel style?

(Pardon the wrinkles and lack of make-up in the photo...the dress wrinkles when you sit on it all day and on non-show days during the run of a show, I boycott oodles of fabricated good looks)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Ogler

One night of my show, my cast mate leans over to me on stage, in character, and asks, "Do you know that guy in the audience?  He keeps oggling you."
After a little back and forth, I figured out to whom she was referring.  Nope, didn't know the guy.
Following curtain call, we giggled when he walked through our receiving line, then we headed to a friend's house for a movie.
We walk in the door and there he is!
What are the odds?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dating Representative

When you first begin to date someone, you aren't dating them, you are dating their representative.

Think about it!

Dreams: Pregnant

Why?  Why?  Why

I was pregnant.  I kept walking around saying, "I don't know how this happened!"  I was unwed.
People kept saying, "Honey, you know how it happened."
I would reply, "But I didn't do that!  I didn't do anything - I'm just pregnant!"
And boy was I.  All swollen and huge.  I was only a little pregnant and then the next morning I was really pregnant.  I happened upon another pregnant lady who was sitting in a hot room while covered with blankets, who believed that extreme heat induced labor.  I climbed over her to the seat next to her and told her I didn't know when I was due, but I woke up really pregnant that morning and I hadn't done anything to get that way.

I woke up very happy to be non-swollen and have a flat belly.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark - First Preview Performance 11.28.2010

I couldn't be more excited that I was able to attend the very first performance of a Broadway show, let alone the biggest budget Broadway show in history.

Every time someone asked what shows I was going to see on my trip and I responded with, "Spiderman the musical," their reaction always included a laugh and an expression of bewilderment. None of them had high expectations but they all completely understood how curiosity got the better of me.

But I'm no dummy - Bono, the Edge, Julie Taymor - all involved in the same production? Sign me up. Delaying the opening three different times because the effects are so spectacular they need more time to get the permits and technology? Double sign me up.

My sister and I have seen the sign on the Foxwoods Theater there taunting us for over a year.

When we arrived at the theater, we had to walk to the end of the line - a good two minutes away from the theater entrance. There were people walking around asking for tickets to this sold-out show and a line-up of people just hoping to snatch up the seats of the no-shows.

We stood in line with the nicest man and his three children, the youngest of whom was the most spitfire, witty little boy I've ever met. He had us in stitches the whole time. They also knew someone who was part of the show and had tickets in row A of the Orchestra. I'm still jealous.

Once we finally got into the theater, I could hardly wait to check out the remodels, as I'd heard of all of the construction they'd done since the days I saw 42nd Street there. Suspicion confirmed - new rigging's lights, platforms, wires, poles - the whole kit and caboodle.

Our tickets stated 6:30pm as the start time, however the doors didn't open until 6:30 or later, so clearly the show began somewhere around 7pm.

The producer came out and shared with us that the evening would be long and would include a few stops along the way to fix some technical glitches. The audience cheered - no one seemed to care, we just wanted to be there.

I could give a full summary of the show, but being as this is quite long as it is, I suggest looking that up elsewhere. The New York Post has a review that is pretty accurate, albeit not pointing out many positives.  You can also watch the 60 minutes segment.

What did I think of the show?

I've never seen anything like it. I started typing my description of everything and kept wanting to add, whether I enjoyed the feature or not, "I've never seen anything like it." So I figured that is how I would start, so I don't have to keep repeating myself.

The plot? I still can't quite figure out exactly what the plot was. My sister and I didn't catch on until about 3/4 the way through. In fact, I'm a bright girl, but I entirely missed the fact that Arachne was the actual spider who bit Spidey - I thought she was just the goddess of spiders and was upset Spidey rejected his spider gift. Oops.

The characters? Arachne, Julie Taymor's creation, is stunning visually, from her first appearance as a beauty to her emergence as a spider in all forms. She dangles above the stage as her legs begin to "hatch" from behind her. Super creepy. At one point, there was a technical malfunction as she dangled there - holding her pose - for about ten minutes. I'm impressed with this actress's arm strength. Arachne's minions, later in the show, had this odd, undeniably fascinating dance number about shoes, each of the performers having eight human legs. I could not tear my eyes away to even blink, it seemed.
Then there were the annoying narrators/"story writers." These four "teens" were more talented than I can ever hope to be, however their characters made no sense. They need to go...or be integrated into the plot as story tellers of the story currently happening - not as kids actually writing the story. This added to the plot confusion way too much, however, without them we would have about an hour of just Arachne (she's seriously too much of the show).
The rest of the lot - the Daily Bugle characters, Green Goblin (oh how I wish Alan Cummings were still in the show...), Spidey, Mary Jane, the other villains - all the tops - definitely keepers.

The singing? All were immense talents and beautiful gifts to my ears. The songs, however, were not memorable. I can hear Arachne's voice in my head, but can't recall a single "ear worm" aka "hook" from the melodies of the show. Wait...the weird eight-legged shoes song I can. How is that the most memorable musically memorable moment of the show when it made absolutely no sense with the plot that already made no sense?

The costumes? H-o-l-y C-o-w. Forget CGI, just have these costumers come work with your productions. Words cannot describe the splendor - you might as well lump this in with the effects category.

The sets? WOW. I couldn't find many photos online, and we aren't permitted to take photos during the show, so the below is what you get, which doesn't even cover the half of it. Let's just say there is a point where a building comes up and turns over. You, as the audience, feel like you are at the top of the building looking down on the street - even seeing cars driving by. Whoa. There were also quite a few "comic book-y" parts of the set that looked a little "cheap," but only due to the cartoony nature in comparison with the other, more elaborate set pieces.  Given the genre, I felt it fit in quite well - always reminding us this is a comic book show.

The choreography? I mentioned the eight-legged number twice already - can't get that out of my head. I l-o-v-e-d this number where a dozen Spidey's were on stage all moving exactly how Spidey would, all very athletic and unmatched levels of precision. All of the dance numbers were grand, well-choreographed, and entertaining. The opening actually has women swinging back and forth from the air, weaving an intricate web out of a chiffon like material as they swing - I'm sure very Cirque Du Soleil - and majestic.

The stunts? Jaw dropping. As if Spider-man flying around isn't enough, they managed to rig the wiring so it looks like he is swinging on webbing from his hands. The biggest breath-taking moment, however, was when Spidey and Green Goblin are fighting swinging over the audience from rafter to rafter. Spidey then actually boards Green Goblin's back and rides/surfs him through the theater air, concluding with a landing on the top level of the balcony. The entire audience sat on the edges of their seats in disbelief. I also loved when Spidey flew from the stage to the balcony and did a flip before landing. Arachne descends from the balcony once, as well. The producer was required to announce before every show, to get their permits for the flying stunts, that audience members not try to hitch a ride with performers.

Lighting? Mysterious. Good use of colors and shadowing. Nothing out-of-this-world spectacular, but no complaints. In fact, I'm almost positive following all the flying is a mountain-moving experience in and of itself, so I take my previous statement back - spectacular.

Our conclusion? The plot and music really are such a shame, because those are the two things that typically make or break a show. Who ever heard of a show failing because the lighting wasn't top-notch? If they can even just improve the plot flow, it will make a world of a difference. I want to see this show succeed, as I believe the other aspects are a gift to Broadway audiences, but if the production team don't make some changes, this show will flop after the initial six months of curiosity passes.

The show is not ready to officially open, but we would have rather been there and seen what we saw with the preview performance than to have the show delayed yet again. I've seen over 80 Broadway productions and this one is the only one I would recommend purely for the spectacle - I usually cannot forgive a lack of intelligible plot or song hook.  We are very grateful we had the opportunity to see this spectacle of a production. Not the best plot (still not quite sure what the plot is), not the most memorable music, but you will never forget the sets, costuming, lighting, stunts, and experience. That Sunday night I felt blessed to be one of a few hundred people in the world who have shared the Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark experience - that's what it is - not a show, an experience.

Definitely worth seeing for the moments that will take your breath away.
(if you can ignore the fact you have no idea what is really going on or why certain musical numbers exist and without a melody)

Seriously. See it.

(We saw Sarah Jessica Parker there!) 

If you look closely, you can see Sarah Jessica Parker's Prius:-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Creepy Killings

What if we treated creepy human beings the same way we treat creepy creatures?
"Ewww- there he is!  He's creepy!  Kill him!"
Ah, the warped thoughts I have when I squish those eight-legged creatures.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


I haven't purchased hairspray ever and I haven't owned hairspray since high school.
Last week I purchased two cans - one for the dressing room, one for home.
I am not pleased with this.
But, I gotta say, my curls look fab 40s va-va-voom. I am pleased with this.

Friday, December 3, 2010

1940s Radio Hour Opening Night!

We opened last night and everything went fantastically!

This is a feel good, warm-fuzzy, holiday show for the whole family. We sing songs from "Baby It's Cold Outside" to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" to "I'll Be Home for Christmas." Very fun, I promise! No way you can get out of that theater without laughing at least half a dozen times and having a big smile splashed upon your face.


Where? Midvale Performing Arts Center - 695 West 7720 South (right in the middle of the valley!)

When? December 3 (tonight!), 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 17, 18 (Random dates, we know)

Cost? $7 adults, $4 children, students, and seniors, Groups of 10 or more get in for $4 pp

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NYC: City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks, Dressed in Holiday Style

I just returned from my second adventure to New York City to celebrate Thanksgiving and ring in the Christmas season.

Thanksgiving morn, I checked into the hotel and headed straight away to Central Park West and 66th to watch the Macy's parade. At first my view wasn't prime, but about half way through, the gentle cops let me into a private viewing area - three cheers for cops! I took pictures of every float and balloon I could see. I've added a few here for you - Kanye, Buzz, Jessica Simpson, Smurf, Joan Rivers, and Santa (the most important).

You can't escape a trip to New York at Christmas without the obligatory photo of Radio City Music Hall - home of the Rockettes. Just around the corner is the Rockefellar Center tree, but we left about 30 hours before the official lighting, so those pictures are kinda boring.

One of my favorite NYC meals is white pizza - hands down top five.

We stopped by FAO Schwartz just to see if there was a "Big Piano" show going on, but we found Santa instead. Looks like I made the naughty list this year;-)

I never have my picture taken in Times Square because it seems so cliche, but I figured after making it through Black Friday alive, and with a full shopping bag in tow, I deserved a celebratory cliche photo.

Britty and I decided to go visit the real Santa at Macy's again this year. We told him what we wanted last year and all our dreams came true. Why not give it another go? We love the winter wonderland you travel through to meet him.

On our descent from Santa's house, we took this photo so I could post it and show you all those people. Yeah, there were easily three times that many people the day before. Don't try Macy's the day after Thanksgiving. Ever.

The thought just occurred to me that I could have been wearing the same outfit the entire trip and you would never know what was under that coat. Regardless, the morning of our departure day, we went for the most amazing, peaceful walk along the East Side of the island near our hotel to see the Statue of Liberty for my sis. You can see from the sun and my squinty face how beautiful of a day the sun kissed us with.

If you want to see more photos, you'll have to check out my Facebook page. My sister also took just as many photos, but we divided up the task, so we don't have any duplicate pictures. I can't wait to see them.

What else did we do in NYC?

We saw the first ever performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. I am going to dedicate an entire entry to that experience alone. How many times in your life can you say you saw the first production of the biggest budget Broadway show in history? Oh yeah...pretty much never. We were very blessed and fortunate.

I also saw Elf - The Musical, Memphis, and Next to Normal. I can't begin to tell you what a life-changing experience Next to Normal is - if you ever have the chance to see it, you must. No arguments. Memphis is a Broadway spectacular if I've ever seen one - I left saying, "Now that is a Broadway show." Elf? Cute, darling, colorful, gorgeous sets, energetic dances, great for children, but nothing worth screaming about - the movie is just too good to speed up to fit in musical numbers.

One unique experience we had this trip was meeting up with my friend Clint. He drove into the city and escorted us around all evening. We visited a Christmas market in Union Square, sampled truffles, crepes, pretzels, and organic hot chocolate, visited the Met (first time for Brit!), ate Thai food, walked around Rockefellar Center, and topped the evening off with Magnolia cupcakes and door-step service to our hotel. Shout-out to Clint - thanks for the magical evening!

Other things? Shake Shack! Chinatown, the new Disney Store on Times Square (extremely disappointing compared to the old 5th Avenue location), Central Park, the Christmas star light show at Columbus Circle (magical, calming, see it...late at night), Pier 17, Max Brenner's Chocolate by the Bald Man, Serendipity, World Trade Center area (where our hotel was), walked by the Ray's Pizza that is the original according to Santa in Elf, and stayed up late chitter chattering. The trip was fantastic. If you've never been to NYC, stop making excuses and just go. I'm in love.

Temple of Dandur and Clint at the Met
Me and Brit at Rockefellar Center
Me and Brit with the Rockefellar Center Tree-topper

Columbus Circle light show


I am a curvy girl.

I lift weights like a mad woman six days per week. If I flex for you, you may run screaming like a little school girl. I even had one man I dated tell me that I should stop working out my legs because my leg muscles were quite large and hard. In my last show, the costumer told me my biceps were bigger than most of the men in the cast. Awkward.

But when I'm not flexing or working out? I just look quite curvy and soft. I have all the confidence in the world because I know what's going on under that soft exterior. And really, my arms are so big cause the muscles in 'em are so big...I'm not just a fat-armed freak - I promise!

I just think, "Wow...I'm only a buck twenty five or so (depending on the last time Ben & Jerry were visiting), but I just look so is this?"

I'd rather be feminine than all chiseled looking. No one wants one of those body builder "ladies." But I am baffled that there really isn't much of me to be so...voluptuous.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Confidence is interesting. I used to try when I was younger, and I never pulled it off. Now I don't try and it's there.

I once had a man friend, who was trying to figure out my age, tell me, "Well, I'd guess you are pretty young by the way you look, but you are too confident to be young." Huh.

Some men are attracted to confident women, but I can testify with 1,000% certainty that some men are extremely turned off by this. Being the independent woman I am, I suppose I wouldn't want the ones who are turned off by it anyway.

But it does make me wonder - how independent is too independent? Where is the line?

And I just realized I tie "confident" and "independent" together. They really do go hand-in-hand. Or do they?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Want You / I Need You

A couple of weeks ago, I received this sweet text: "I can just see so much self-confidence in you. You don't need some guy to make you happy, because you are already. At least, that is what I see when I look at you."

This intrigued me. I don't need a man to be happy, but I want the man I'm with to know he's a great part of my life and I would never want him to feel he isn't desired.

A few days later, a friend shared with me this: "There is a difference between, 'Of all the places I could be right now, I choose to be here with you,' and, 'I can't be anywhere unless I am with you.'

This difference is what makes a man feel wanted and a man feel needed. Apparently most want to feel wanted, not needed.

I'm not quite sure where the line is between the two. As I'm quite sure I've given off both vibes simultaneously to different parties, but it got me started on thinking of ways to continue to improve myself.

On a side note - Google analytics gave me a giggle this morning when I saw the report that someone found my blog by Googling "butt slapping." What the?

Monday, November 22, 2010

1940s Radio Hour in the News

A fun little article on my show is here.

I don't know why no one can ever spell my name right.

But in the caption for the picture, our names aren't even right - funny stuff! I hear in the print version, the names under the photo don't even match ours. I guess I'll go by "Shyanne Williams" from now on, since that's what they named me:-)

Here's the article:

Celebrate the holidays with the nostalgic West Jordan Theater Arts production of "1940's Radio Hour".

West Jordan Theater Arts' Holiday Show takes you back in time. The year is 1942 in New York City and radio station WOV is presenting its Christmas show, the "1940's Radio Hour." In a time period when radio was the lifeline to news and entertainment, everyone gathered around the radio.

Come watch and enjoy wonderful music like "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," "Baby, It's Cold Outside," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and more. See Johnny Cantone the Frank Sinatra wannabe, and Biff doing his last show before he is sent overseas to join a fighter squadron. See Neal the comedian, waiting for his big break. You'll hear from BJ, Ann, Ginger, Geneva, and Connie (an 18-year old bobby sockser from Ogden who wants to be a star). Pops, Lou, Clifton, Wally the drug store delivery boy and other great characters fill out the radio station staff.

The amazing casts of vocalists and performers includes Ann-Megan Smyth, Ginger-Larrissa Villers (Spelling, folks!!! - One "R"!) , Geneva-Rossy Moreno, Connie-Nichole Omana, Johnny-Lucas Millhouse, Neal-Mike Muren, BJ-Cody Crabb, Biff-Dustin Chipman, Wally-Wes King, Pops-Lee Watkins, Lou-Dave Newton, Clifton-Tim Frost, Featured Dancer-Marcy Muren, and Usherettes-Vickie Chapman, Joanne Frost, Jesie Ibrahim, Ann Sharp and Stacy Snider.

Dave Newton has built an amazing set, and director Rosalie Richards and music director Harli Zaugg have brought the 1940's back to life. Music is provided by Cheryl Neilson and Ralph Faneus, and production assistance provided by Jen Crabb and Pat Oliver.

Performances will be at the Midvale Performing Arts Center (695 West 7720 South) on Dec. 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 14, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the West Jordan Maceys and at the door--Adults $7 and children, seniors and students $4.

CAPTION: Starring in "1940s Radio Hour" are, from left, Allison Gardiner, Lauren Madsen, Shannon Boswell and Shyanne Williams. Dave Newton is in the foreground.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fluffy Blankets

I bought a blanket at Sam's Club. A fluffy one. I want to snuggle it. Hard. And a lot. It is in my trunk. I need cozy blanket snuggles.
I am astounded with how those blanket creators find ways to make them softer and softer.
I swear Sam's Club bamboozles me every year into buying a new throw blanket more angelic, more cloud-like. Mmm....fluffy blanket.
I sometimes like for my condo temperature to be a little cold just so I can layer up and get all cozy under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate or soup. Makes everything feel so right.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Human Super-Human Powers

I've noticed I have an uncanny ability to know how much time is left on the timer - without looking. I know you are all jealous.

Just this morning I had my breakfast in the microwave and turned back around as the timer hit 1 second left. I regularly bake and seem to enter the kitchen right when there are only a few seconds left. When people ask me what time it is, I can usually guess within 5 minutes. Not every time, but usually - and sometimes it freaks me out a little.

So, that's my totally human super-human power.

Do you have one? If not, what superhero power would you choose to have?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I am not a snuggle ho. A man must earn snuggle privileges and I'm pretty particular.

That being said, lately I would like nothing more than to just be held.

I have lots of man friends who give me abundant squeezes that tide me over until someone earns the rights to be my snuggle buddy. I'm pretty soft and huggy:-)
(Gals - Girl hugs are perfectly acceptable, but do not try to girl snuggle me - that makes me extremely uncomfortable)

I've also got my little purring tiny tiger who loves me to carry her around and hold her and let her sit on my lap or curl into the nook of my arm.

But there is nothing like a warm, masculine human embrace. Nothing like the electricity in someone's touch and the comfort of being held in someone's arms - the rest of the world vanishes. The bonus of my being particular is that I know, once I do have someone, he'd rather be nowhere else than holding me. *sigh* *double sigh*

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bandwagon: Christmas Music

Everyone seems to be jumping on this bandwagon: "Oh, oh I am so appalled to hear Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving. Oh, oh the world is coming to an end because people forget to celebrate Thanksgiving."

I don't know about you, but I am certainly not forgetting to celebrate Thanksgiving. Who can forget that turkey and the love of family and giving thanks for all our blessings? No one I know. Does hearing a Christmas song change that? Nope.

Do I listen to Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving? No. But I am in a Christmas show, so I've been performing it in rehearsals for a few weeks. And I will be setting up my tree this weekend to have it there in all its twinkling splendor when I arrive home from NYC and it is actually Christmas time. I'll be there as Santa rounds the corner in the Macy's Thanksgiving parade, assuring me that the time is now appropriate to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

In all my efforts to not listen to the music before everyone has deemed it socially acceptable (although, I really could care less what you do), I got bamboozled by my very own ipod yesterday at the gym - I added all of my Sinatra songs and, well, apparently there was a Christmas song...boy oh boy....I was singing along in my head before I knew what hit me. Sneaky little son of a gun...
I promptly hit the "next" button.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dreams: Killer Whales and Sharks

I have not been watching "Jaws." I have not been watching documentaries on Discovery Channel. I am not on drugs of any kind. Any of these would explain my dreams last night.

I dreamt I was standing on an observation deck at the top of a cliff, watching many boaters and surfers in the waves. Then one of the boats capsized. I saw the three people swimming away, all in different directions. One made it to safety in a cove off the cliff where there were other people hanging out. I then saw a huge, ominous, dark shape underneath one of the swimmers. The man was screaming as the killer whale broke the surface of the water, grasping its victim, and hurling itself into the air whilst biting the man in half. Everyone else observing was aghast, yet it was almost as if we were watching a movie - with people saying, "Oh my, did that whale just eat that man?" Uh, a little more drama, please! This whale was also unlike any other killer whale I've seen - it was more of a Megalodon in size - ginormous. The whale then devoured the second person in a similar fashion. I woke up before the second boat of capsized people could be eaten.

I usually dream about sharks - they scare the snot out of me, yet I can't tear myself away from Shark Week, stupid shark movies, photos, you name it. This, however, is my first time with killer whales. I wonder what it means?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Reason to Blog

Why do I blog?
Lots of reasons! But here is one:
Potential suitors can read my blog and find the answers to all of their questions regarding how to handle me in a relationship or how to handle me not in a relationship. Someone recently utilized this resource and knew how to best communicate with me. Now everyone is happy, all catastrophes averted, and no feelings injured!
See, blogging = good!
I should make my blog required reading for any man before I agree to a date...hmmm....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wrong Impression

What do you do if you know someone believes something about you that is not true? What do you do if you know you will no longer encounter that person to influence any belief to the contrary?

I'm struggling. I acted in an immature, rash manner around a sweet, kind individual. Then I continued to let the crazies grasp me and plead for forgiveness (in spite of the fact that the person said it didn't matter and all was forgiven) over the course of two days - I'm sure convincing this individual that I am mean and crazy.

But what's done is done. And I can't go back and change my actions. All I can do is persevere towards never repeating that mistake. But that one person out there...that one person who believes I am someone who is as far from the truth of who I, that gives me indigestion. Perhaps this would be easier if I weren't so darned used to being so sickeningly sweet to everyone around that the mere thought of someone disliking me or of purposefully hurting them in any way is simply preposterous.

I've expressed my theory that if someone thinks you are crazy, everything you do reinforces their belief regarding all your crazies. So, really, all I can do is just sit back and hope it is all water under the bridge and that someday, somehow this person will know the truth.

What do you think? Ever had a similar experience? I know the atonement covers all pains, no matter how little, and time will help, it's rough right now is all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody and Baton Twirling

While on my daily date with Gym yesterday, my Ipod gifted my ears with "Bohemian Rhapsody"...Glee style.

Instead of sending me into fits of Wayne's World head-banging frenzy, I found myself reviewing choreography. Yep, you best believe my baton competition team twirled to this song when I was fifteen. Commence laughter, but it was a mash-up of "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Will Rock You."

I've been able to bust out my baton for a few of my shows over the past two years and I cannot describe the feeling - the most I can conjure is that it must be the sense of "right" that Harry Potter feels when he picks up his wand.

I watch others play with my baton all awkward and afraid. My baton is an extension of my arm - I spent twelve years of my life with that piece of metal in my hand. I'm actually pretty rusty now, but when I wrap my fingers around the baton, I feel as if I'm home.

I loved twirling baton. I loved competing. I loved dancing. I loved practicing so hard I spun holes in the bottoms of my shoes. I loved learning to work with a team. I even loved getting a fat lip so huge, my lips would touch when my mouth was open.

What passions in life do you have that make you feel home?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pranks and Giggle Fits

I had a giggle fit last night if ever I've had one.

One of those fits where you can't even get the story out and the people listening start busting up laughing as well - not at the story, but at you. One of those fits where you feel alive.

I thought about the story again this afternoon and had another good giggle session - all by myself in my car. Hm.

A few years ago, Target offered a wake-up call service to ensure you didn't miss their Black Friday sales. You had to register online and then confirm by calling in from the phone you registered.

I love a good prank. Hard. Naturally, since I lived with my lil sissy at the time, I registered her for all three days of post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza wake-up calls. I even selected the voice of a sweet little old grandma - the one she'd least likely hang up on and most likely believe.

Oh I go giggling again.

The day after Thanksgiving she comes wandering out of her room at some late afternoon hour, sleepies in her eyes, "I got the strangest call this morning at 5 am. Some little old lady wanted me to shop at Target..."

Saturday afternoon, "Dude, that little old lady called me at 5 am again today."

Sunday rolled around and she's ready for it this time. She was coherent enough to listen to the whole thing, and kept asking me, "Why does this little old lady keep calling me to shop at Target?" There was more detail about how exactly the lady greeted her and the funny words she used, but there is tragedy in this comedy because I don't remember and a Google search failed me.

She was baffled. She wondered how long the calls would last, and I'd say was almost disappointed when they stopped.

About a year later, I said to Sis, "Remember when that old lady kept calling you to shop at Target last year?"
Her eyes brightened as she got all excited and reiterated her confusion about the mysterious caller.

I confessed.


I wish Target would offer the wake-up calls again. I'm spending Thanksgiving with The Squirt and would find so much joy from pulling this off a second time.

You Smell Good

I think men greatly underestimate the power of a good cologne. I'm not talking the overpowering power - a light spritz can set a female into a frenzy, too much sends us to the Excedrin. I feel like a man is trying to do a little extra something special when he tries to smell good for me - even if it is just Old Spice deodorant or being freshly showered or wearing freshly laundered clothes. I'd actually prefer the three aforementioned items to a man wearing a weird cologne...cause not all cologne is good. Men, ask a lady friend to go shopping for some with you or tell you her favorites for you to try. Better yet, go to Sephora. Those ladies are geniuses.

On that note, I think men appreciate a good-smelling woman too. Granted, with all of our froo-froo anti-bacterial hand washes and shampoos and lip balms, we are more inclined towards smelling delectable without the aid of a spritz.

As proof, I would like to thank the following young men for confirming my theory and telling me I smelled good on Sunday: Jon, Chris, Blake, Todd, David, Logan, Rich, and Kelly.
And I'd particularly like to thank Blake and Logan, who couldn't even carry on a conversation because they were so distracted by my "Pink Sugar." Silly go buy some for your girlfriends.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I was told today I am a strong personality who is honest and tells it like it is, not a chameleon "people pleaser."

I'm not quite sure how to take that. Is it good or bad? I always thought I was a "people pleaser." And I normally, in my politically correct lingo, refer to rude people as people who "tell it like it is."

I'm stumped.

Email Reading

Most of the time, when someone sends me an email, I go back and read what I originally wrote first. Conceited, or thorough? Hm.

Deliver Them From Evil: The Taking of Alta View

Have you had a Lifetime Original movie made based on your real-life events?
Cause I met someone who has:-)

What a treat from the same people who brought us "My Stepson, My Lover," "Crimes of Passion: She Woke Pregnant," and "Mother Trucker: The Diana Kilmury Story." Check out IMDB here.

Summary: A man assaults the Alta Vista Hospital taking four women, a man and two babies as hostages. He wants to kill Dr. Garrick, who, according to Worthington, ruined his life sterilizing his wife.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I was going on dates with a young man once who then proclaimed he didn't want a girlfriend for at least three years. Well, being the non-dummy I am, I knew that immediately meant, "I like you, but not that much." And, I also knew that I wasn't going to waste my time any longer.

Flash-forward to now.

I'm not looking for a serious relationship right off the bat with someone, but I'd like to know that the possibility of a committed relationship is at least in the cards. What is the point of dating if it isn't? I never have quite understood that concept...

Yes, right now I am looking to have fun and spend time with someone and just get to know him and enjoy each others' company and take things easy and the list goes on. But in the end? I want a relationship. There it is, out for all the world to know. And if you don't want one eventually? Don't waste my time.

I'm in no hurry, but I do want to know that there is at least a possibility that one day a man I am dating will want to commit to me (boyfriend status). And I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm Proud of You

One of our jobs in life, I feel, is to make things better.

I believe the same with parenting - we have experienced and watched what our own parents have done and are now equipped with the knowledge to hopefully do just as well, if not better, with our own children.

One of the attributes my parents have that I hope to always, always apply in my life - whether I have children of my own or am simply an influence - is to let them know I am proud of them.

My parents are the best at this! I can recall countless situations when I went to my father in tears about something and all he would do is thoughtfully listen, then respond, "Riss, I'm proud of you for telling me," or, "Riss, I'm proud of the decision you made."

I have always been one of those people who punishes myself more than anyone else ever could. My parents know this and know, more than a punishment, I need encouragement. And they always give that to me.

I cannot begin to fathom how much the world would be a different place if we were all constantly strengthened with the knowledge that our parents are proud of us.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hot Smoothies

You all know I love me some Roxberry Smoothies.

I was lamenting a little inside today because now the weather is getting so cold that partaking of these treats may do me more harm than good. I am one of those perma-chilled gals. Which reminds me, I just read the phrase, "Snuggle like bunnies on a cold winter's night," and thought,"Mmm...that sounds nice."

Uh...I digress!

I was also thinking, "Wouldn't a warm smoothie be delicious?" Then all I could think about was soup ground into chunky drinkability, because, really, what else would a hot smoothie be? And then I was disgusted and disappointed.

Dreams: Broadway Theater

I dreamt last night I was in a theater buying tickets to a show, but somehow ended up with "Promises, Promises." Which was fine, but I wanted to see "Memphis."

I told the people in the lobby about the three-minute-earlier error and they giggled and said they'd take care of me.

Meanwhile, two friends showed up (anonymous in this dream) and we were able to venture to the rafters of the theater because the stage door was open. While following them, I saw a person/ghost. Not sure how I knew it was a ghost, but I did.

I ran back down to the lobby and asked the folks there if the theater was haunted, to which they replied in the affirmative.

I woke up before I could finish freaking out about the ghost, yet was still more disgruntled about having tickets to the wrong show.

Yes, I am excited about my upcoming trip to NYC. Yes, I just bought a ticket to "Memphis."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Talking to You

One of my friends was observing me on Friday night. I feel awkward writing that, but there is no other way to put it - I was being observed.

He pointed out that whenever I talk to someone, I point my shoulders their direction. There is no question as to whose conversation I am interested in, or where my attention is focused.

As embarrassed as I was, I find this overall a good statement. I love people. I love learning about them and letting them know I care and am truly interested in what they are saying.

There was also some discussion that I pose when I am being introduced, but that is just a bunch of bologna. I refuse to acknowledge any validity of the observation.

Next time you see my shoulders squared your direction, feel the love!

Telephone Repairs

Monday night I was at a restaurant and dropped my phone from a bar stool. Upon recovery, I opened the phone to see that the inside screen no longer worked. Visions of the bills from purchasing a new phone started scrolling through my mind.

I showed my fellow diner the damage, then a spark of genius ignited within me.

I threw the phone down again.

Totally worked. All smiles.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bed Wetting

I wet the bed last night.

Wait! It's not what you think!

I was sitting on my bed with my laptop and my huge bottle of water when I heard the *beep, beep, beep* on my phone that means someone loves me. I walked over to the phone, I responded with reciprocal love and turned around to see a dark spot on my bed. Right where I was sitting. Couldn't quite figure that out. Then I saw the guilty bottle - 20 of the 28 ounces gone.

I left for a couple hours and returned to the dry side of the bed, but kitty curled up right on the wet spot...which I found odd to say the least.

This morning the spot is dry, but there is a ring on my 2-year old fancy schmancy mattress. Grrr. At least my sheets are now freshly laundered.

Lesson? Wetting the bed is never a good idea.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Forgiveness on Death Row

Yesterday I had the most amazing, enlightening experience.

Bishop Bradshaw, a guest speaker, shared a powerful message with us in a special combined third-hour meeting at church. He was the Bishop in the Utah state prison system for eight years. During that time, through a series of humorous and frightening events, he became acquainted with Ronnie Lee Gardner. For those of you who don't know, Ronnie Lee Gardner was the man executed by firing squad in Utah on June 10 for two murders.

After his time serving as Bishop, he was able to visit the prison quarterly, always with a request from Ronnie to meet. He was able to develop a relationship with Ronnie and witness him try over and over again to become a better man. Let me be clear, Bishop Bradshaw saw Ronnie as a son of God, but felt Ronnie should die for his crimes. Ronnie also felt very certain he should die for his crimes. But these two men were able to change each other.

Bishop Bradshaw was able to spend most of the evening with Ronnie the night he was executed. He sat and talked with Ronnie while he ate his last meal, discussing everything you can imagine you would talk about if you knew you only had four hours to live.

One item they discussed was a phone call Ronnie received from the son of one of the men he had killed 25 years earlier. This son was now a Harvard grad with a bright future. The two of them talked and the son concluded with, "Ronnie, I forgive you."

Bishop Bradshaw shared with us how Ronnie wept and wept recounting that conversation. How important it was to him that he knew he was forgiven and knew there was always a chance for forgiveness.

Then Bishop asked us to look around the room and think about what we were holding onto in our own lives for which we needed to issue forgiveness. If this man who grew up without a father, whose dad was stolen from him, can forgive the man who took him, then cannot we too forgive those around us for the petty grievances we are holding onto?

What a powerful experience. How magnificent sitting in that chapel listening to this man speak with such a lighthearted and sincere love for a man he fully knew deserved to die. I have definitely re-thought a few "I forgive you's" I've been holding onto, and have definitely re-thought how I will change this in my life from here forward.