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Seasons Overlapping

Summer is officially over, and for the first time in my adult life, I don’t want it to be. The summer of 2018 has been one of the most defining seasons of my life. I’ve grown in surprising ways, discovered strength and swagger I didn’t know I had, experienced highs and lows of pretty epic proportions… it was a summer I will never forget.

These gorgeous gals have gotten me through so much. This night was pretty shortly after I had started adjusting to living on my own, and a concert/night on the town was such a great way to start my summer.

Then there’s these two… I could not be more blessed than I am to have these amazing women in my life, let alone in my band. The Dog Moms played the Mainstage at Indy Pride, and it was kind of surreal. I was stage managing the whole stage that day, but for a few moments I got to put down my clipboard and sing. Jacci and Nicole are more than my sister and sister-in-law, they make me want to play music for the rest of my life, and are a loving example of kindness, generosity, and how to care for other humans (and fur babies).

Stage Managing Indy Pride was definitely a highlight of my time in Indianapolis so far. Months before the event I doubted myself and asked our producer if maybe we should find someone else for this gig. He reassured me that it would way less scary than it seems, and I’m so thankful he was right. It was just an incredible day of feeling in control and supported and loved, and I needed that so badly! The day included a mandatory evacuation, hunkering down in a trailer singing with friends, Queens, and performers, adding last-minute belly dancers, fire dancers, curve balls, drag queens, a killer sound and backline crew, rainbows, color, music, and love love love everywhere I looked.

So many crafternoons! I made so much stuff with Gwen and (sometimes) Libby this summer. Teaching Gwen how to make something and then seeing her take what she’s learned and putting her own spin on it- Proud Auntie Moment!! She is so naturally creative and artistic, I love nurturing that part of her any way I can.

This may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but it’s HUGE for me- I wore shorts and skirts and rompers this summer, and LOVED the hell out of how I looked! I’ve never felt very comfortable in summer clothes, but I was truly surprised to feel so sad when the weather started getting cooler, and my wardrobe started to change accordingly.

My INDYPROV family grew bigger!! To say these crazy people have impacted my life would be an understatement of the highest degree. Improv is a necessary therapeutic joy-bringer to me, and getting to do it with these smarties (and many more not pictured here) is truly an honor. They floor me.

I was struck with the idea of a photo shoot, and I collaborated with two incredible women to see it through. (See the post “Finding My Wings” for the full scoop) I am thrilled with how cathartic and beautiful the whole thing turned out to be. The wings are now my headboard and look over me while I sleep.

I spent my former wedding anniversary (July 4th) with my improv family. I woke up dreading the day, unsure of what feelings would bubble up and how I would deal with them. I don’t think I even told many of the people I was with what the day used to be for me. Nevertheless, we partied, cooked out, watched fireworks, and went to Olly’s after. I felt beautiful and loved and supported just as a result of being surrounded by these remarkable souls. The picture above was captured by a friend on a day when I wasn’t sure if I could even smile, let alone glow like I was in this moment. But the thing of it is- when you glow like this, you’re reflecting the light that others are shining on you. I am incredibly grateful for all the light my friends shine on me.

Family vacation!! Spending a week in Michigan with Mom, Dad, Ness, Rodney, Gwen and Liberty was so good for my heart. We had crafternoons and living room dance parties and discovered the joy of Snapchat filters. We spent time on the beach and ate at new places, and Gwen even swam in the lake! It was the week before I went back on contract at IRT, so the rest and relaxation was so nice.

The Dog Moms played three nights at White River State Park as the opening act for Indy Shakespeare Company’s production of Coriolanus. Again, playing music with these ladies is my favorite thing ever. Our voices come together so well, there were songs that gave me chills in the middle of singing them. We had great crowds and met lots of dogs after the shows at our dog watering station. Beyond thankful for these two and the opportunity to play there.

I spent some quality time with my INDYPROV gal pals, and danced several nights away.

Exploring the dark side as GOTHPROV for a scavenger hunt all around Indy. It was a great time, but dang wearing all black on an August day may have been a mistake… nah. Worth it.

More INDYPROV madness!! My summer nights spent with them singing karaoke on patios and performing together are just priceless. Couldn’t ask for a better group of friends.

This guy has been full of surprises. I didn’t expect to feel comfortable dating anyone for a while, let alone being this happy. Seth is thoughtful and sweet, and goes out of his way to get to know my friends, family, and pets (despite not being a huge fan of birds, he makes sure to talk to Charlie my parrot and it’s really cute). He is an amazing guitar player (he would say I’m over selling it) and a hard-working man with a kind heart. He makes me smile every single day.

The Dog Moms (&Jeff) got hired to perform at one of the stops along The Indy Ultimate urban obstacle course. We played in the lobby of the brand new Phoenix Theatre. It was raining nonstop, but the runners seemed absolutely thrilled to see us. We had a few dance parties and made it into several selfies. Such a fun experience.

I made my bio-Queen drag debut! This is Ola Cray, special host for the ladies of Pink Slip – the Midwest’s only improv drag troupe.

MOMENTS NOT PICTURED:

One week after I couldn’t get off the couch for three days, I got up, got dressed, and auditioned for one of my favorite shows of all time with the encouragement of my friends Jim and Nolan. I wasn’t called back, but I showed myself what I was capable of on my own. I’m so glad I pushed myself to do something for me, even when I felt at my lowest. It was kind of like a starter pistol for my unforgettable summer.

Summer Conservatory Props Class- I taught four different groups of young actors (ages 8-18 I believe) how you can develop characters using objects (props) found in their environment. They had such vivid imaginations and didn’t hesitate to jump into the exercises at all. They supported each other’s ideas and built such fascinating characters in a short time. Their brightness gave me joy and hope for the next bunch of theatre artists.

I guess my main takeaways from this summer were –

  • Leave room for surprises (from others and from myself)
  • I am strong, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need my support system
  • Karaoke is more fun outdoors, as is live music
  • I’m going to be okay, even if that looks like something a little different every day.
  • Music, improv, and crafty creativity are necessary

It still feels like summer here in Indiana for another day or two, but fall is just around the corner. I’m looking forward what this season brings.

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Finding my Wings

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It started with a notion. A blank canvas.

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Supplies were gathered and arranged.

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No clear plan in mind, except be faster than the setting sun.

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I begin.

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Sweetly and intentionally, the colors bump and blend with each other.

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I pull the creation to the surface.

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Check my vision.

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This is definitely heading where it wants to.

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Keep pulling it forward, it’s in there somewhere.

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The journey is part of me, of course I’m going to wear it.

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I’m going to wear it from head to toe!

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Of course there will be glitter.

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Time to shake the familiar.

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Time to let the hair down.

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It’s really showing itself now!

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It’s gotta be me that makes it… them. It’s gotta be me that makes them.

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With my own two hands.

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They’ve been there the whole time, I just had to pull them to the surface.

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I just had to see them…

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My wings!

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I knew they were in there somewhere!

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Onward and upward, then!

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Who knows where they’ll take me…

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They’ll be with me wherever I go.

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They’re beautiful, but most importantly, they’re MINE!

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Special thanks to Nikita Rachele Photography , Allyson Rae: Hair, Makeup, and Styling and Leslie Knox at The BeeHive Full Service Salon for my pink hair coloring.

 

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The Middle of Nowhere

I grew up in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of nowhere. I wasn’t really embarrassed about it at the time because everyone else I knew did too, with a few exceptions.

But when I went away to college in a bigger town, I started meeting people who didn’t know how to drive on a gravel road, people who never had a driveway (ours was at least a quarter mile long), and people whose windows looked directly into their neighbors’ houses. The horror.

Eventually, I gathered that the surroundings of my youth were pretty unusual. Once, on a return visit to my high school with some new college friends, an announcement was made over the loudspeakers that one of the busses (we had fewer than 10, I think) would be running late because there were some cows loose on its route. My friends HOWLED with laughter and I died of embarrassment. They thought they went to a small school…

In college, some of the people I spoke to didn’t have a yard growing up. I, on the other hand never used a push mower until I was well into my 20s because our yard was so big we had to use a riding mower- and it still took a couple hours. (This is not a picture of our yard)

We were a good 20-30 minute drive from most places, but I didn’t mind. I preferred the long drive when I was in my little car- gas was cheap, and I had one of those cassette adapters I could hook my portable CD player up to. I would zip down roads, coast around bends, and sing to the cornfields.

I never truly realize just how much sky there is out there until I go back. It’s humbling and incredibly lovely. The fields are constantly changing from season to season. When you see them every day it’s less obvious, but when you’re away for a time it’s both startling and comforting to mark the progress of these giant chunks of land, just doing what they do. These photos would look very different a month from now.

While I don’t think I would ever move back to the middle of a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, I will always be thankful for how it shaped me and connected me to the changing seasons.

These pictures were all taken earlier this week a couple miles from where I grew up. All of them cropped, but there is not a single filter on them.

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“I Want It.”

Self-Care Lessons From an Almost Three Year Old

We celebrated my oldest niece, Gwen, turning 5 last weekend. There was food and presents and cousins and princesses as far as the eye could see. My youngest niece, Liberty, didn’t care about any of that. She cared about one thing and one thing only. Cupcakes.

As you can see, they are chocolate with blue icing and edible paper characters from Frozen on top. They are delicious and magical, especially if you’re told you can’t have another one. That’s Gwen sitting sweetly behind them while we sing her “Happy Birthday.”

Every chance she got Liberty (aka Libby) was going for one. She’s almost three and very independent. We’d explain she had to eat her lunch first, then wait for us to sing, then explain that she already had two. Tears and fussing. Commence distraction tactics. So on, and so on.

That’s Libby in front, probably making direct eye contact with the cupcakes. Her cousin Savannah was a lot of fun to have there, and even took on all the dads, uncles, and granddads at basketball.

I digress… The party happened and presents were opened, dresses tried on, and relatives shyly thanked by Gwen on command. Everyone was loading out with things, I was starting to help clean up. We had thwarted several more cupcake attempts by Libby and thought we had them all squared away where she couldn’t see or reach them. It was quite a shock then, when her dad called her to leave and she casually strolls over nibbling on the fresh cupcake in her hand. I said, “Libby! Where did you get that?”

She said, “I want it.”

Turns out she had spied some that were tucked back on the counter and took matters into her own little hands. She unfortunately learned her lesson about what happens when you eat too much blue icing later that night. She woke up getting sick at 11pm and it was all blue.

Little stink pot. She’s a hoot.

As I rolled over this morning to hit the snooze again a voice showed up to scold me. “You shouldn’t be in bed! You’ve got stuff to do! People expect things from you!” I heard myself answer that voice with “I want it.”

I want to sleep in some. I’ll know when too much is too much. I need this right now. I’m trying to figure out what self care looks like for me. So far it’s:

  • Sleeping in
  • Journaling
  • Reading in silence
  • Limiting my obligations
  • Family time
  • Making things
  • Reaching out to friends
  • Making choices that are ME
  • Annoying Daisy with my love and affection
  • Cleaning and rearranging

I’ve got a lot of adjusting, adapting and maybe even re-learning to do about living on my own. It’s been so long, and it feels so strange. Do I even remember how to do this? But I can do this. I want it. And I’m not really truly on my own.

I think I want a cupcake for breakfast.

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‘Tis the Season

I’m not exactly what you would call athletic. Or competitive. Or outdoorsy. Believe it or not though, I played softball for almost 10 years! I don’t really think about it much, but today the flashbacks are hitting me right in the feels. It’s a combination of a few things-

  • The weather! This is prime softball practice weather (minus the wind).
  • The smell of cut grass.
  • Buckets of softballs in the window at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Once inside, there are racks on racks of bright white polyester softball pants without any trace of dirt, grass, or (let’s be real) concession stand Pepsi on them.
  • YATS is playing country music (I’m on my lunch break) from the 90s, which was HUGE where I grew up, and definitely when I was playing softball.

I wasn’t any good, but I got to eat gummy worms (the concession stand people had to pick them out individually of a huge plastic tub and put them in wax paper for you), yell chants and taunts at the other team, and sometimes pick clovers in the outfield. I went to such a small school, nearly all my friends were on the team with me, so that was fun.

Ultimately I quit after my freshman year because I was just not cut out for sports. Too much pressure and stress to be in front of a crowd. Weird, huh?

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Buckle up, Buttercup!

It’s the time of year when my seasonal theatre job ends, and my summer scramble begins. In the weeks and months leading up to the my summer break I agree to do these awesome gigs and events (that I have zero regrets about, BTW) that take place over the summer, and make me virtually unemployable because of all the time I have to request off. So I freelance. And I do my damndest to stretch the dollars that I have and find ways to get more of the dollars.

It’s terrifying and exhilarating and exhausting– but I can do it.

On that note- what can I do for you?

  • Reupholstery
  • Baked goods
  • Personal shopper
  • Gift wrapping
  • Gift basket assembly
  • Silk floral arrangements
  • Party and event decorating
  • Photo booth backdrop
  • Photo booth props
  • Theatre props
  • Photo shoot styling
  • Home decor projects
  • Writing
  • Visual displays/merchandising
  • Jewelry making
  • Singing
  • Bartending
  • Dog lover
  • Adult and kids crafts instruction
  • Making things pretty
  • Teaching these things
  • So much more! Just ask!

Got a project I can be of service for? HMU!

Chelleterskelter@gmail.com

Crafts · Improv · Inspiration · Music · Uncategorized

New Year, New Blog pt. 1

One of my favorite humans, Gala Darling made a video of questions to ask yourself as you move out of 2017 and into 2018. I thought I would answer one of them per day as I move from my old blog to this, my new one. 2017 felt like it was about 5 years longer than it actually was. It was overwhelming and tense. It was challenging but encouraging.

Here is my response to one of Gala’s questions-

What are your top 5 moments of 2017?

  1. The Women’s March on Washington. It was incredible. I have never seen so many people in one place in my life, and never felt so many emotions all at once. I am incredibly fortunate that I was able to go, thanks to the hospitality of Lynne and Rex Martin, Paul and Anne Eggers and family, and the company of Aurelia and Kait. We drove straight from Indianapolis to Olney, Maryland to stay with the Eggers, and I will never forget the feeling of excitement building the entire way there. Every rest stop had more pink hats than the one before, and a sense of purposeful camaraderie was thick in the air. Every stop on the Metro was another wave of clever signs and solidarity.  At our last stop, we rode the escalator up and stepped off into the resistance. It was powerful and historic, and I am so glad I went. This picture was taken before we headed to the National Mall to join the march. IMG_0327
  2. Starting my booth I started renting a booth and selling my vintage fabric and accessories at the Southport Antique Mall! On move-in day they had a sweet sign with my name on it welcoming me there. I’ve enjoyed setting up my space and bringing color into people’s lives! (L-R) I painted the wall this blue/purple color, and it really stands out in the Antique Mall. The sign welcoming me on my (pre-painted) wall. A summer layout of my booth featuring a dress with pockets!  

  3. Being in a band (The Dog Momswith my sister and her wife. We played at White River State Park and the Eiteljorg Museum as two of our first gigs! Not too shabby, right? For our first gig at WRSP, we were the opening act before the Indy Shakespeare Company’s  fantastic production of As You Like It for three nights in a row. I had so many moments (in practice and on stage) where I was just overwhelmed by how proud I was of Jacci, and how grateful I am that Nicole is in our lives and our family. They are so so talented, and we sounded good, y’all. Can’t wait to do it all again! Night three of our three night gig at White River State Park.22141054_1946616302271304_2340997923758902204_n
  4. Crafternoons with Gwen (and sometimes Libby!) I got to spend some quality time with my nieces over the summer. Gwen, the oldest, loves making art and doing crafts and then displaying it proudly. We made all kinds of stuff together- chalk drawings, painted christmas ornaments, library book bags that we used Inkodye with (it’s activated by the sun, so you put shapes and letters on it as a resist and then put it in the sun to develop), jewelry, coffee filter art, and so much more. The best thing in the world is walking into their house and seeing things I’ve made with her and for her all around- on walls, on the Christmas tree, on shelves in her room, all over the place. Also, it’s rare if I leave without a work of art made just for me. I’m so glad to see her creative side being nurtured by her parents. (HIGH FIVE, VANAYE and RODNEY!) Fingers crossed that Libby will be interested too! A glimpse of the artist at work. This is just one art-covered corner in the living room. There are many more!IMG_2727.jpg
  5. Teaching Indyprov classes I had the great fortune to teach 2 adult improv classes last year.  Each class is 8 weeks long and culminates in a student showcase. Improv has brought such joy and transformation into my life, and teaching it allows me to do that for others. I learn so much from my students – about improv, about teaching, and even about myself. I admire each and every one of them for being the comedic rock stars they are. (Interested? Check out what INDYPROV has to offer you!) Level Three class (top) featuring my assistant instructor Nolan, our students Dawn, Richard, Aaron, Mary, Daniel, Kerri and Heather (not pictured). Level Two (bottom)- My assistant was Evan (not pictured), and my students were Bob, David M, Brittany, Baul, Jeremy, Erynne, Erin, Lizzie, Lily, David P, Anne and Brent (not pictured). IMG_139525508771_10213462336544331_305243948_o

2017 clearly had its moments of awesomeness. They kept me sane, inspired, motivated and grateful.