Monday, December 31, 2012

Past Year's Resolutions: 2012

What did I accomplish this year?

Every year I ask myself this question and make my retrospective resolutions for the year.  Hindsight is 20/20.  And I think it is much more uplifting to reflect and think, "Wow- I did that!" than to think, "I didn't meet two of my ten goals.  I'm a failure."  Know what I'm saying?  

1. Have a segment on a National Television Show (Dr. Oz)

2. Organize a trip for my entire immediate family to go to New York City, some for the first time

3. Buy a car!  My first on-my-own car purchase - paid for in full!

4. Complete the one-day, 34-mile "Great Saunter" around Manhattan's rim with my dad, lil sis, and her now hubby

5. Fall in love

6. Get that little sis of mine married and be her Maid of Honor/sing at her wedding

7.  Realize a skit I did two years ago now has over 50,000 Youtube views

8. Ride a wave runner for the first time

9. Attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival for the first time

10. Receive my first professional massage (90 minutes!)

11. Run five miles in 41:45

12. Continue to have zero debt

13. Maintain my six-times weekly dates with Gym and within 5-7 pounds of my finish weight from when I worked with a nutritionist 3 years ago.

14. Visit the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame for the first time

15. Visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time

16. Finally visit the A Christmas Story house!

17. Perform a leading role in a play

18. Visit Las Vegas twice - first with three of my favorite gals and second with my favorite guy

19. Continue to be rewarded/recognized at work with a raise and a department expansion

20. Take my beau home to Ohio with me for Christmas Eve with my family and jet back to Utah for Christmas Day with his

Honorable mention: Transition from 22-year habit of a written planner to an e-planner.  Way more difficult than you'd think.

Resolutions of Year's Past

Friday, December 14, 2012

Somewhere Out There

"I have been out back looking for shooting stars tonight.  Remember when you did that?  I saw one!  I love you!  Goodnight my wonderful daughters!"

My dad sent me that last night sometime during the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.  I smiled, felt my "dad loves me" little warm fuzzy, and quickly forgot.

On the way home (Rob and I were in separate vehicles due to some car issues we'd helped his family with earlier in the evening), Rob and I were on the phone when a brilliantly vast shooting star blazed across the sky.  We yelled out, "I just saw a shooting star!" in such synchronization that he didn't even hear my exclamation.

I shared with him my text from my father earlier that night and how it seems more than a coincidence.  He replied, "Why don't you call him and sing Somewhere Out There."

"Have I told you that story?"
"What story?"
"About that song....have I told you?"
"No, I don't think so..."
"About how that is my dad's song for me?  That ever since I was a little girl, he always thinks of me when he hears that song or looks at the sky?"
"Wow, no, I didn't know that."

This afternoon I called my father to tell him the story rather than text.  He added, "You know, your sister and Braelin (niece) responded that they saw a shooting star too!"

Sometimes, the littlest things bring us together across what seems like a universe apart.  Maybe it was just a simple meteor shower, but maybe, just maybe, it was more than that. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Opening a Can

This is not about opening a proverbial can of whoop a**, as it were. 

I'm talking about a real can.  But perhaps they are, in actuality, a can of whoop a**. 


Because those blasted things scare the bajeebers out of me.

Have you ever opened one with the pull-off lid?  Do you know that moment when you hold your breath, make the final tug, and pray you don't get splattered with liquid as the lid breaks free from the can?  Have you ever not been splattered?  I think I'm about zero for...hmm...however many cans you can open in your life time.  I was reminded of this today at lunch as I tried to open a can of patheticness (aka some 210-calorie Chef Boyaredee kids meal).

To make up for it, I am eating the lion's share of Rocky Mountain Chocolates one of our vendors sent.  You need comfort food after a trauma.  Okay, not really - I am not an emotional just sounded like a good excuse.    

Does anyone have any secret tips for lid removal sans splatter massacre? 

image rights of

Monday, December 10, 2012

6th Annual A Christmas Story Pajama Party

It's that time of year when my little world of friends gather together to view A Christmas Story in their pajamas.

Every year I throw this party and bake treats galore in lieu of gifts (for most).  There are always plenty of treats to take home after, although most people gorge themselves so much they run screaming the second I say, "If you want to take anything home..."

This year's party was fantastic, back to our home theater venue at Dallas's (Shout out to the most fantastic co-host!).  Many, many people I love, whom I haven't seen in quite some time, appeared through the front door and spread smiles across our faces and hearts.  I was also missing quite a few (you know who you are, so I won't shame you by calling you out), but the hustle and bustle of this time of year gets the better of us.  Blessings abound that as many were able to make it as did - even one from Vegas!  The icing on the cake for me was having my partner-in-crime, his family, and his best friend there - imagine the legacy that will live on as the 3- and 5-year old's create their own A Christmas Story traditions.

I forgot to take photos until the last thirty minutes of the event, so the food is just the carnage of leftovers and more than three-quarters of the attendees didn't get their mugshot. C'est la vie.  This year's menu was more low-key than in the past, but still all homemade and the piggies showed me how they ate: Oreos, M&M cookies, Chocolate Chip cookies, Chocolate mint cookies, Reese's cupcake cookies, Ohhh Fuuuuudge, and Snickerdoodles.     

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Russ McBride

I don't know where to begin.

Russ McBride entered my life almost two years ago exactly.  And what a thundering entrance.  My cast of 1940s Radio Hour had just completed our performance and were letting people "run the gauntlet" (where you have to walk past all the cast members to get out) as they exited the theater.  Russ had come with his son, Nik, and kept gushing to us about how much he enjoyed the show - so much, in fact, he promised to return if we checked out his improv group, "Quick Wits." 

I recall those snowy December evenings with warmth and love.  My cast ventured over to Midvale Main Street Theater several times to laugh, eat junk food, and enjoy each other.  Russ pulled me onto stage as his wife for the newlywed game my first time at Quick Wits and boy was it a hoot playing his white trash babe.  He told me he knew we'd be good friends after he first asked me, regarding our upcoming sketch, "Alright so what do you want to do?" I smiled coyly at him and winked as I said, "You."  Then I laughed myself silly because I have no seriousness behind what I say, I just think it is funny.  I'm glad he did too because friends we became.  Dear friends.

This weekend, we lost Russ to a massive, unexpected stroke.  I lost a constant support, a friend, and a source of more laughs than I can count.  Yet, the memories I have are priceless and will be with me forever.

Here are a few stories:

- I was down and out about my relationship choices, so I posed a question on my blog about what type of man you would see me with.  Russ responded with this: This is such a great question...How many of us have heard "I never would have seen you two together in a million years...."..there are so many factors that play into the final decision of a significant other..with that being said I truly feel that no matter what "type" fits you, there are some qualities that I feel you ultimately deserve (sappy moment alert)..granted I have not spent enough quality time to get an accurate account of your type..but you are so well rounded that I can only assume so many types fit your personality...someone that can make you laugh, not just few moments of LOLs but even just the times when a past moment brings a chuckle or a giggle or even a slight grin, I loved the comment of " but is no wallflower himself (as in, he'll join in conversations you're having even if he doesn't know the people well or at all)", you seem to have the ability to be the life of the party without having to know ANYONE at the party and you don't want to have to babysit or make sure he is having a good time, you want to interact with everyone..someone who enjoys the arts but at the very least will support you in them..someone whose knees get weak and breath becomes short because you simply walked into the room, even 60 years later...someone who becomes stronger and better because you are beside them...when all dates are filled with the excitement and giddiness of a first date, whether going to the ballet or sitting home watching a dvd...when there is no reason needed to get you chocolates, flowers, a card or even a little toy out of the .25 cent machine...someone to, at the very least, OFFER to help cook and clean...Wow this is very sappy, I could go on and on...I don't think any of this actually even answered the question. You have so many different types that you have dated cause you are that rare person that truly cares for everyone.   

- I blogged about wanting a certain dress.   Within a week, I received a message from Russ, "I have that dress for you."  The story is here.  Of course, he told me he had some connection and got the dress inexpensively and would not let me pay him back.  Two other times I asked if his connection could help me get some spendy dresses I wanted and both times he said, "Absolutely."  Upon asking him how much I owed him, he would never let me pay him back.  I asked him over and over, but he would never let me.  One time, my friend loved one of the dresses as much as I do, and he got one for her too!

- I had mentioned something to him about how I used to make Easter baskets for all my roommates and how, now that I live alone, I made my own basket and had no one else to give one too.  And you know what?  I went to Quick Wits one night and they said, "We have something for you!"  It was a huge Easter basket!  From Russ!

- I was auditioning for a lot of shows and doubting if I deserved a lead or even a part at all.  He had seen me perform several times and spent a late evening after Quick Wits talking with me outside into the wee hours - about performing, life, and just anything that came up to help me with perspective.  When I got the leading role in a show, he bought me a ticket to another theater company who was doing the show so I could see what I was getting myself into. 

-Opening night of my show, with my first lead lead, I received a gift at intermission.  "Someone brought these and asked us to give them to you."  I read the card.  Russ.  Two dozen roses.  He couldn't stay for the show, but wanted me to know how much I deserved this moment. 

- I got stranded at a rest stop near Brigham City.  As soon as I posted it, Russ was on the phone asking what he could do to help and if he needed to come rescue me.  Some friends near me responded and came to my aid just as he was leaving his house, so I called to tell him he didn't need to come.

- My mom came into town and I took her to Quick Wits.  Russ went out of his way to come talk to us for the entire intermission.  As he had done the year prior when my sister and her friends came into town.  He made a huge impression on all of them and, even after only fifteen minutes, they'd all regularly ask how that nice, funny guy from improv was doing.

- Last Saturday November 24 he performed with Quick Wits - he may have been planning on performing anyway, but I had texted him several times begging him to be there because my sissy likes him most and she was in town from Ohio with her new hubby.  Once he told me he'd be there, I invited several more friends out.  That evening, we talked and he told me he almost didn't make it but was glad he did and glad he got to see us. 

- He supported many of my friends in many of their shows and even met a group of us to support Megan in Beauty and Nichole in Annie Get Your Gun. 

- Most importantly, Russ's constant support and words of kindness helped me, along with the support of a handful of others, avoid marrying the wrong man.  He literally helped change my life. 

- We would e-mail all the time for about a year.  This communication dissipated after I started dating my Rob, a Quick Wits teammate.  I'm not sure if Russ felt I no longer needed him, if life got busy, or a multitude of other reasons.  He was always there with his words to give me a boost.  I tried to do the same for him, he was just so much better at it. 

    Some of the inspiring/funny/random thoughts he shared with me are below, all exactly his words from e-mails:
  • Nik came into my life when I needed him more than he needed is amazing how often that happens...I try to look at things in life that make the days better...and if you look it always seems that people or things come into our lives right at the perfect time...they also leave the same way...sometimes it is the person that shows up right when you needed someone to just understand and listen, or the person that gives you the boost you needed.
  • I sat and watched the final hours of favorite time of day is that moment when the world is settling down, usually about 630-8 where the kids are being called in for dinner and baths, the traffic has subsided, even the animals are beginning to be done for the is just a peaceful, peaceful time. I am very lucky Nik likes improv shows..he goes through so much always just sitting there waiting for dad to finish what he does...but it has been such a blessing for me...he even started his own "troupe" at his school and had a talent show with it..Yes, dad was beaming..we have sooooooo much fun together and it is incredible to see him WANT to do the things I take such an interest in. It is funny, my entire life has been athletics, fitness, sports not until I was out of college that I got into acting and improv...people would ask me in high school "What if your son isn't into fitness or sports?" and I would always respond "I will support him in whatever he wants to do, even if its acting.." Now I just sit and watch him excel at it all...*proud daddy moment*.
  • My family and I are very close, we all support one another in pretty much everything
  • My favorite times at the shows are when we banter back and forth...good times.
  • I actually have a phobia of haircuts (I think my ear got clipped when I was a kid) but it isn't about getting my ear clipped or anything like that...I fear a bad haircut (maybe it was the bad haircuts a s a kid growing up to save money)..I have walked up to a saloon and honestly found the most mundane excuse to walk away and change my appointment...weird fact about Russ.
  • I don't want to just be good. I want to be the part that actors pattern after or directors try to Improv I want other actors to say "I patterned how I did this game or this character after Russ..."
  • Just want to say again how great you did on closing night.  Great job....I am sure your parents were not only impressed with their daughters talents, but were beaming with pride..:)
  • When one hurts it is tough to be on the outside looking in and not being able to fix it or shield that pain from you. I am sorry that it hurt that deeply. But know that I am here....whether it is to hear about the same thing over and over or if it is a simple hi or if its a "I need to get out of here and you need to take me..." 
  •  You are truly one of the most incredible people I know...from physical appearance to personality to talent to spirituality to your heart...the list goes on and on and on...I have said it before, quit stepping over dollars to pick up quarters.
  •  Riss, I don't need to tell you what you mean to so many people out there...I don't need to tell you all the qualities you have....I don't need to tell you that anytime you turn around and need me I am there.  You are an amazing woman. One that a man with the sense of a billy goat would be eternally grateful to even just have gotten to meet you. You embody (where is my mind :)) everything that one would look for in a it romantic or friendship.
  • Riss, there is not many out there that I can think of that I would cast above you, of course we all have our strengths, but there is something to be said about an actor/actress that is quite literally LOVED by everyone. Do you think that I was just giving you a line when I told you you light up the room? It is soooooo true that you do..and you light up the stage as well. And at the end of the day, if you had a blast and truly enjoyed what you just did, then don't second guess yourself. I can see you on the "Big" stage one day, if that is what you want. Never would I doubt that you can get there. You are an amazing person in so many ways.
  • My heart dearly aches for you when you are hurting or sad (is that they same thing?). But again, do know that I truly hold you as one of the most remarkable people that I have EVER known. My world literally lights up with even just an email....I want to slap the men that have been in your life and just say "Do you realize what a TRUE man would give to be with a Larissa???? Are you really that stupid, self absorbed and blind that you can't see the forest through the trees??? You hit the female lottery and you blew the WHOLE THING!!!!"
  • I flirt because it is in my nature to flirt....but I also understand the importance of a kind word and the impact that just a little attention can give to someone. If by me simply smiling and telling someone how they have brightened my day translates into them taking a little extra care of themselves or giving them a smile that passes to the next person, then how could that be a bad thing? And if they "spruce" up just a little bit more because they know I will be there or that I might see them at the show or something, then that confidence translates into EVERYTHING they end up doing for the entire day and night. It is even a bit selfish cause it makes me feel good to see people improve themselves.
  • Thank you for your kind words about Nik...I fear (actually look forward to) the day I fall for a woman that I come to adore as much as that little boy...they will have control of the world and me:)
  • I haven't set the bar high at all for Nik. I will spoil him for the day (ok weekend) but he knows that stuff is just that, stuff...I have instilled a big sense of charity into his life that he has never taken things for granted..and what amazes me about him, is he recognizes, at this early age, how hard I am willing to work for him and others that I love..he appreciates it and never takes advantage of it..but I can't help but want to give him everything and show him off to the world. He is so incredible and has made me not only be but want to be a better man daily. It is amazing how much and how many things he has changed in my life...

I haven't lost anyone close to me in a good, long while.  Life is delicate, fragile, and fleeting.  I despise the "He is in a better place now"-esque comments.  I know, I get it.  But right now?  Right now, I miss his presence.  Right now, I keep expecting to see him walk around the corner flipping his water bottle and coyly smiling saying it was all a joke.  Right now, I wish I could hear him talk about his amazing son one more time.  Or give me a huge hug.  Or send me a message just to say hi like he so often did.  Right now, I have a hard time comprehending all of those things will never happen again.  Right now, I am eternally grateful for this man who touched my life and changed my course.  Russ had a way of making everyone around him feel like a million bucks.

We love you, Russ. 

His viewing will be Monday, December 10th from 6-8pm at Myers in Roy 5865 s 1900 w in Roy. The funeral is Tuesday, December 11th at 11am (viewing that day from 10-10:45) at the Chateau Park church (formerly 3rd, 8th, 23rd wards) building. 5930 s 2200 w in Roy.

The flowers Russ got me for opening night