Monday, October 10, 2011


I received four bouquets of flowers--gorgeous flowers--over the run of my show. People I've never even met in person and only "know" on Twitter came to see the show. Almost two-thirds of my colleagues and many of my graduate students supported me by attending as well. And even people on campus--total strangers, mostly students {students! the darlings!}--stopped me to tell me how much they loved my performance. 

Do you know how much I love acting on stage? It's where I feel the most like me. The most alive. The most real. And performing Shakespeare? Oh, my darlings. You have no idea. It's nothing short of magical.

But now it's over. This past Saturday was our last performance. Afterward, we stayed to take down the set, which is customary in our theatre group before heading to our cast party in Oakland. We were there until 12:30 a.m., ripping apart platforms, draining the 2" of water from the set, and sorting out the costumes. All of us together, one last time.

I fell in love during this show. With my cast mates. Amazing, complex, beautiful souls that they are. The sixteen of them. Some 18-years-old, some 24-years-old, and lots more in between. All beautiful. And I can already tell you that I miss them, a short two days later. I've begged them to come visit me in my office, daily. Theatre does that. It bonds you in ways that many experiences can't.

But now I get to rest. And that pleases me greatly.

Well, at least until the next show I do.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

up on stage.

me as Isabella, all weepy during Act II Scene IV

Well, I did it. I survived opening night of our production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and two more performances after that. I'm really happy with how it turned out: the lighting, the minimal set, the costumes, and even the 2" of water on stage that we have to deal with. It's all perfect.

Opening night was great. No major flubs, lots of fun and energy, and an audience that hooted and hollered during our curtain call. And afterward, many of the audience members waited around for us in the lobby and spoke such kind words about our performance.

L to R: TJ Firneno (Angelo), me (Isabella), Christina Loscalzo (Mariana), Jake Wadsworth (Duke/aka Friar Lodowick), Jason Bingman (Escalus), and Bill Lyon (Lucio)
On Friday night, a lot of my colleagues from the department where I work came to see the show after they'd all gone out to dinner together. I love that they made a social gathering out of it. Community-building is huge in my book. And they all stayed after to greet me in the lobby, and there were hugs and kisses all around. And they even brought me the most gorgeous flowers and a very sweet card that they all signed! And the show was really, really good that night, so I'm glad I had a large contingency there to see it!

On Saturday night, my dad surprised me and came to see the show. I had no idea he was in the audience! In fact, I didn't think there was anyone in the audience that I knew, but when I got to the lobby after the show, there he and some others were. It was a wonderful surprise. And my dad said, "Honestly, Laura, you gave me chills." I guess that means he thought I did a pretty good job. *grin*
I've grown really fond of the cast, all 17 of them. Bill, Jake, TJ, and Megan especially. We didn't have any shows Sunday, Monday, or today this week, and tomorrow we have a brush-up rehearsal before we perform again Thursday, Friday, and finally on Saturday night. It's been weird to be away from everyone for the past few days, especially after having spent nearly every single day with them all for the past month. I can honestly say that I'm going through withdrawal.

Me (Isabella) and Jake Wadsorth (Duke/aka Friar Lodowick)
But it has been nice to have the past few days free.  Well, except for Sunday. I participated in the NAMI Walk early that morning. But Monday and today have been nice, because I've just gone to work and then home to lounge and relax. I needed it!

Jake Wadsworth (Duke/aka Friar Lodowick) and me (Isabella)
Needless to say, though, it'll be nice to get back to the theatre tomorrow to see my fellow cast members and then do our final three shows later this week. I have never worked so hard on a show, but it's definitely been an experience I'll never forget!

the entire cast
p.s. If you'd like to see the show, there are still three more performances!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

opening night.

Well, it's here. Opening night.  Tonight at 8 p.m., I go on stage and do the thing I thought I could not do. This whole experience has been something else, let me tell you. Seventeen actors, fifteen scenes, Shakespearean language, all in just three weeks' time. I've lost weight. I've lost sleep. I've lost my mind. {At moments, at least.}

I must do the thing I think I cannot do.

I have done the best that I can do, and tonight, I will simply go onstage and share it. Shakespearean language, especially, is a gift, and all I want to do is give it. Make it accessible. Let people who have been frightened of it or turned off by it experience it in a way that makes them say, "Oh, my gosh! I get it! It's so real!"

I must do the thing I think I cannot do.

There's water on our stage. Two inches of it. And we must act in it, move in it, speak in it.  It's difficult, but we're doing it.

I must do the thing I think I cannot do.

I'm a professional actor. I've been doing this for fourteen years. But for some reason, this time feels different.  But, I'm going to do it, because I have to. And because I want to. I love my cast mates, I love the language, I love the set, the lights, the music, and the costumes. 

I must do the thing I think I cannot do.

Tonight I give a gift.

Cash only, please.

Friday, September 16, 2011

"weary with toil..."

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expir’d...
-Shakespeare's Sonnet 27

I'm tired. So, so tired.  Rehearsals are going well, but they're draining. We open in less than two weeks, and I still have so many lines I still have to memorize. If I'm not sleeping or working, I'm learning my lines. On my couch for three hours after work? Learning lines. In the shower? Reciting lines. While I'm driving? Saying my lines. While I'm on my lunch break at work? Running lines with TJ (who plays Angelo). All I'm ever really thinking about, it seems, are my lines. Constantly.

Yesterday was particularly rough. Each year in the History Department where I work, we host a History Forum, where we bring in a scholar, host meals, seminars, and a public lecture (followed by a delicious reception). It's a lot of work, and I'm the one who really plans and executes all of it. Yesterday was our Forum. And last night after work and the Forum dinner, I had a 2-hour rehearsal that included two of my most intense scenes...each of which we ran multiple times. Then, after rehearsal, I went back to "work" and attended the Forum reception. When I finally got home at 10:30 p.m., I was so tired that I wanted to cry. 

But I was too tired to actually cry.

I somehow managed to get myself into the shower and into bed in one piece, and I really do believe that I fell asleep within ten seconds of my head hitting the pillow.

And today at work, I just wanted to sleep at my desk. Remarkably, I've been quite productive, but I feel like I'm in a haze. I have rehearsal again tonight from 6-10 p.m. And tomorrow. And Sunday. And I still have so many lines to learn.  I'm actually really frightened about how little time left I have to do so. All the lead actors are. We're very, very anxious.

Send good vibes if you can, please.  And maybe some Red Bull.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

playing dress up. oh, and joe manganiello.

One of the reasons I like runway modeling so much is that it serves as an escape while simultaneously allowing me to perform a bit. I get to dress up, put on a different face {hello, makeup!}, and get my "hair did." It's a temporary transformation that takes me away from the real world and transports me into a bit of a make-believe world.

This past Friday night, I did a runway show for a fundraising event for Partners for Quality. I love doing these types of gigs. The guests aren't hoity-toity fashion critics or designers who take it all so seriously. They're regular Pittsburghers who are there to support an important cause and be entertained. We're allowed to smile as we walk down the runway, make eye contact with the members of the audience, and just have fun. That's how I think fashion should be.

My hair and makeup were pretty simple for the evening: a slick side-swept, bobby-pinned 'do, and a tiny bit of an edge to otherwise classic makeup. 

Backstage at Jay Verno Studios on the South Side was gorgeous. I'd been there before for this same fundraiser a couple of years ago, but this year, it was really well-lit and cleaner.

I got to wear some pretty sweet stuff, including that adorable red dress you see in the center of the photo below. I had my own dresser {that's someone who helps me in and out of my clothes during the quick changes} and my won little area next to the clothing rack. I plopped my stuff and myself down right next to it as soon as I got there, pulled out my script {which I now carry with me like an extra appendage everywhere I go}, popped in my earphones and listened to soothing sacred choral music on Pandora on my iPhone for a bit.

Because the Pittsburgh modeling industry isn't as large and crazy as that of New York or Chicago, a lot of the same models get booked show after show, so I end up working with a lot of the same girls each time I book a job. It's nice.  This is Anna, who I've worked with before, gettin' her hair touched up:

And this is me and Anna bein' silly backstage before the show:

The one thing I don't like about runway shows is that they put the men and women models in the same area backstage, so it's not exactly private and modest when it comes to changing clothes in between passes on the runway. I try really hard to hide behind other girls while I change, but sometimes you just have to be quick and hope that the dudes aren't eyein' you. And I don't flirt with them, by the way. I find it incredibly unprofessional, and quite frankly, I think it just fuels their egos, which are already big enough. I just get in, chat with some of the girls, take some goofy pictures with one or two, work the runway, change into my street clothes afterward, maybe stay for a bit if there's an after-party or reception, and head home.  

But I didn't stay for the after-party for this show because I was alone, didn't feel like hanging around a gaggle of other models who were ALL wearing skin-tight, short, spandexy dresses and stillettos and drinking, etc. I felt horribly out of place and lonely, which told me that the temporary transformation into another world was over and it was time to head home to my elastic-waist pants, couch, and remote control.

Although, had I stayed at the after-party, I would have seen this guy, who made a guest appearance since he was in town for a fundraiser for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. He's a huge star now, but I remember auditioning with him over a decade ago here in Pittsburgh.

{No offense, Joe, but my comfy pants were worth it. Still, sorry I missed you.}

I finally got home around 10:30 p.m., and, a tradition I'm starting to do after modeling gigs, I took a photo of myself in my bathroom before washing off all the makeup and getting a hot shower.

I'm usually utterly exhausted after a runway show. I feel flu-ish, which is weird, yes, but true. I think it's because it's a lot of fast-paced physical activity, from getting to the salon prior to the show for hair and makeup, to the fast-changes backstage, to the actual Strutting Of My Stuff on the runway. I love going home afterward, to the quiet of my apartment and the comfort of my couch or bed.

Runway is fun, it's an escape, and I love to play dress up. But nothing beats the feeling of coming home to peace and sleep.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I think it's safe to say I'm not the only one who experienced a heavy heart this weekend as we remembered, once again, 9/11. I stayed away from the media for the most part {I checked Twitter a little bit, but that was about it.}, mostly because my heart is oh-so-very-tender, and I tried to just stay aware of what that day represents. 

But I also had a heavy heart for other reasons. Partly because I have been very, very lonely lately. But also because I'm just really missing Ross and feeling a true and tangible emptiness as a if half of my heart is missing. I ended things almost a year ago, and I am really struggling with whether or not that was the right thing to do. What I am certain of, though, is that it has felt like a death. It feels as though he died, and I am having a very hard time with it.

Anyway, that's what's on my heart lately. I'm feeling a little quiet as a result.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

busiest. woman. ever.

On Labor Day, I actually "labored." I spent most of the day at the theatre, cleaning up from the previous show and building the set for my show. I got to spend time with the cast and crew, all of whom are just darling. That guy in the plaid shirt in the photo above is TJ Firneno. He's playing Angelo, one of the male leads. He's an alum as well, and he's very good. AND he's very tall. {This is a big deal for me. Being almost 6' tall, I need a tall actor I can play opposite. This rarely happens.} I can't wait to act with him, because he and I have some really juicy scenes together. 

How juicy, you ask?

Guess you'll have to come and see the show to find out!

Rehearsals officially start this week. Plus I'm modeling in a runway show on Friday night. I'm booked solid.  Here's what my life looks like:

Tonight: two fittings for Friday's runway show (one in South Side, one in Bellevue)
Tomorrow: day job and then rehearsal until 10 p.m. Awesome.
Thursday: day job, a third fitting for Friday's runway show (in Oakmont) AND THEN rehearsal from 8-10 p.m.
Friday: day job, hair/make-up at 4 p.m., runway show at 7 p.m., home at 11 p.m.
Saturday: NAMI board meeting at 9 a.m., crew at the theatre (paint, paint, paint!) from noon to 5 p.m.
Sunday: rehearsal 6-10 p.m.

And somewhere in there I'm supposed to MEMORIZE A BAZILLION LINES.


Excuse me while I go collapse under my desk. And clutch my bottle of bourbon.

Friday, September 02, 2011

the power of one.

Sometimes doing something for someone else is all it takes to help yourself feel better. I decided to do a mission today as part of the Secret Agent L Project. It's been quite a while since I've done a mission. Go on over and take a look!

Happy Friday, my darlings.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

and so it begins.

I didn't count them exactly, but I'm pretty sure I have about 4,309 lines. That means I probably have about 83,205 words to learn.

That's a lot of words.

Last night, after I went to see a movie {note to self: don't go see Friends with Benefits when you're currently missing the love of your life}, I came home, sat on the couch in my underwear, devoured a piece of Oreo Cookie cake and studied my lines until almost midnight. I managed to learn about a page and a half, which is a pretty good start, considering we haven't even really started on-stage rehearsals yet {that comes next week}. This weekend I'm going to get serious. I have nothing else planned. Just me, my couch, my script, and maybe some more Oreo Cookie cake. Or at least some black cherry bourbon.

I'm excited about this show, about getting back on stage again where I have always felt a serenity, a peace, a freeing sensation. Maybe it's the escape from the real world. Maybe it's the hours away from the hard stuff of life. Maybe it's learning about a character's life and seeing the duplicity within it. Whatever it is, it's healing for me. I'm thankful I don't really get stage fright. I'm thankful that I can get up in front of people and do things. And once those lights hit, their heat radiating into my skin, my heart starts to pump true life through me. The warmth of those lights and the wall of darkness on the other side of them--the audience--makes me feel like I'm in a cocoon, where all is safe and in my control. 

It's kind of weird, actually. I think that in my real life, when I'm not on stage, I carry within me all the hurt and burdens and aching of my life. But when I get on stage, I have permission to let it all go. To channel it through the life of a character. To release those burdens that weigh down my heart. I can scream on stage. I can yell. I can raise my voice. I can cry. I can stomp and run and push and shove and grab and cling. {I will have to do all of those things in this show, and, quite frankly, I'm looking forward to the catharsis.}

I spend my lunch hour learning my lines. I sit outside in front of my building and I nibble, recite, nibble, recite, lather, rinse, repeat. And it feels so normal to me. So authentic. {How ironic that I feel authentic when I'm pretending to be someone else. What does that say about me? My life? My heart?} Both food and words sustain me, each in different ways.

Monday, August 29, 2011

{enter stage right.}

In my former life, I was a stage actress. And by "former," I mean "roughly a decade ago." I was a theatre major-turned-professional. I acted in more plays than I can even count. Here in Pittsburgh. And in London. {Yes! London!}  And then life happened: jobs, bills, responsibilities I couldn't skirt, etc. And so my life as a stage actress came to a screeching halt. Luckily, my life as an actress didn't. I'd been with an agency since I was 19 years old, and I was able to continue doing on-camera work and voice over jobs occasionally. It was good.

And then the depression came. Like a bomb. I could hardly get out of bed some days, let alone fathom the idea of acting on stage again. It's true what they say about depression: that it robs you of all the things you used to love. 

But the light has started to return a little. And, as a result, I'm starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I'm finding my heart's heart again. In fact, I actually have proof that I am.  Do you know how I know this?

I've been cast in a show.

Yes. I have.

I auditioned this past weekend for a production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, and I have been given the honor of playing the role of Isabella, which is a pretty substantial role. 

And I am so excited.

I'm a stage actress once again.

The production is at Duquesne University at the end of September. It's the theatre company's alumni show, which means that any alums from Duquesne can audition for the show. It's a wonderful way of keeping the tradition of the theatre company alive throughout generations, and I am honored beyond words to have been invited back. I'll be working with my all-time favorite director, John Lane, and I feel confident that the forthcoming experience may very well bring a huge part of me back to life.


Sept. 29, 30, and Oct. 1
Oct. 6, 7, and 8
8 p.m.
Peter Mills Theatre, Duquesne University
$5 for students
$10 for adults
FREE with Duquesne or Carlow University IDs

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

deep thoughts at 4:30 a.m.

from here

You're not gonna believe this. I mean, I can hardly even believe I'm about to type it. So, brace yourself. Ready?

I'm thinking of leaving the Catholic Church.

{I'll give you a minute to regain your composure.}

So, it's late in the day today, which means I'm not going to delve into this in a big way right now, but it just might be a topic I start to cover in some of my future posts. But I will provide you with some itty-bitty detail of how I came to the position I now find myself in.

My mom.

If you've read my blog for some time, you know that my mom is mentally ill. And one of the ways her mental illness rears its ugly head is through an unhealthy obsession with Catholicism. Basically, my mom believes every. single. thing. the Catholic Church teaches, and there is, in her eyes, absolutely no gray area whatsoever. Everything is absolute and black-and-white.

And it hurts my heart.

And lately, there have a been a few passing comments I've made, to which she, in turn, has added her own comments, and it all came to a head this morning at 4:30 when I woke up and couldn't stop thinking about it all. I almost threw up.

Recently, I mentioned that I might want to start yoga.
To which my mother replied that it's against Catholic teaching, that it's spiritually dangerous, and something that non-Christians invented.
To which I cringed and wanted to rip out her tongue.  {What? Too much?}

I mentioned that my dear friend from grad school was very worried that she wouldn't be able to carry a child due to chronic medical conditions she has and that I would be her surrogate in a heartbeat if it meant that she could have a baby.
To which my mother replied, "Oh, no! Laura! No, no! That's up to God! If it's His will..." blah blah blah 
To which I almost hung up the phone on her immediately.

The list goes on and on. So I did some research. And it is true, unfortunately, that the Catholic Church is against both of these things I mention (among a bazillion other things). It's not like I didn't know that the Catholic Church had strict teachings on some topics, but I think I just decided to ignore them. But now, I feel like I can't. And it's eating me up inside.

Like gay rights.
Like women's rights.
Like marriage rights.
Like contraceptive rights.
Like surrogacy rights.
Like women as priests.
Like a bazillion other things that the Church is so against. And I just want to throw up.

But there are so many things I love about the Catholic Church. And so I'm torn. Someone on Twitter today mentioned that maybe this isn't a faith issue with me but, instead, a parent issue. That could be it. Maybe I have to remind myself that I am my own woman, my own human, my own Catholic. My faith isn't going to be a cookie-cutter image of my mother's (THANK GOODNESS), nor does it have to be. But part of me thinks I need to take a closer look and see if I really CAN continue to be Catholic.

Ugh. Religion. It's so exhausting.

I'm gonna go eat a donut.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

walk hard.

Remember that time I was rully brave {um, yesterday} and told even more of the world about my struggle with depression? And remember that time all these amazing, beautiful people left comments about their own struggles? And remember how those amazing, beautiful people showed me {and you} that there are so many of us struggling and that we're not alone?

Yeah. That was an amazing time.

And now, I want to make it even more amazing.

I'm currently on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness {NAMI} Southwestern PA. My mom has been living with schizoaffective disorder since I was 10-years-old {going on 23 years now}. You can read about her struggles here. Be prepared: you'll need Kleenex. Lots of it.

A few years ago, I created a team to walk in NAMI's annual walk. We called ourselves Team Laura's Mom. Our t-shirts were pretty badass, huh?

This year? I'm doin' it again, y'all. Only this year's team is Team Secret Agent L. And I want YOU to join me.

That's right. I just asked you to do something.

Now, I know many of you won't be able to actually join the team and walk with me {and, subsequently, wear an equally awesome t-shirt, which I am in the process of designing, and which YOU WILL LOVE}. BUT. Do you think you might be able to give up that Starbucks latte some morning and donate the moolah to this important cause instead?

Yup. Less than $5. It'd make a difference. I promise.

Now. If you want to join my team, you can do so here. {DO IT. DO IT. DO IT.}

If you just want to give some of your dolla' dolla' bills, y'all, then you can do so here. {ALSO DO IT. DO IT. DO IT.}

And if you feel like spreading the word, go ahead and link this post out to anyone and everyone in all manner of ways.

I will love you forever.  True story.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

take a little hop on over.

I decided to be really brave today and go public with my battle with depression. Hop on over to the Secret Agent L Project and have a read.

I'm seeing the tiniest bit of light, everyone.  Thank you for being beside me while I walk towards it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

disappearing act. {but just for a few days.}

You know what I love? Four-day weekends. I've decided to take a vacation day tomorrow because the university where I work is closed next Monday. I know, right?! FOUR-DAY WEEKEND. BOOM. Sleeping in, jammies all day, breakfast for dinner {a.k.a. "brinner"}, etc. So, I'm gonna take a little break from this here blog, hide out a bit, and return next week.

And I just might take advantage of the above disguise kit while I'm at it. {You can, too, if you like.}

Enjoy your weekends, my darlings. I'm off to enjoy the fact that my depression has lifted ever-so-slightly.


p.s. This? Oh, yes. You simply MUST. I promise.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

words. motion. yay.

There are a few things in this world that I really do love. Like, deeply love. As in oxygen-comes-in-a-close-second to these things.  Boston Terriers. Hot tea. Donuts. Boston Terriers. {Did I say that one already?}

And books.

Oh, Lordy, do I love me some books.

And they are one of the things that just so happen to be helping me battle the severe depression I've been experiencing for the past few months. Honestly, I'm sometimes convinced that a good book can be just as effective as a prescription for Prozac or Zoloft or Lexapro. 
I've been devouring books lately. Like, inhaling them at Mach 3. Embracing them, engrossed in them, totally making out with them. {Okay, not really on that last one. But you get my drift.}

Here's a sampling of the lovely stories I've been throwing myself into for the last couple of months. And I highly recommend that you do the same.

I'm currently reading Agatha Christie's The Clocks. I read it a bazillion years ago when I was in high school. I remember taking it to the beach when my family and I took a summer vacation. And I got a HORRIBLE sunburn {my dermatologist said that if I got a burn like that again, it'd most likely lead to cancer}. I remember being laid up in the hotel room, spraying Solarcaine on my blistering skin, The Clocks my only hope to distract me from my misery. And I remember it being a Very. Good. Book. Indeed.

I've also been watching all manner of things on Netflix. People. If you do not have Netflix, you simply Must. Get. Netflix. Like, now. Go. Do it.

I've been watching the following ditties, and I adore them fully. You should watch and adore them as well. {Sidenote: I am obsessed with period films. Also known as "costume dramas."}

Downton Abbey {Best. Show. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever.}
North and South {the BBC's version}
Bleak House
Horatio Hornblower
Revenge of the Bridesmaids {HILARIOUS.}

Tell me, friends. What do you read and watch when you're feeling blue? Or, actually, when you're feeling not blue too. I'm always looking for recommendations.

{Photo above? Oh, goodness. I want to go to there.}

Friday, August 05, 2011

defcon 1.

Alright. I'm gonna keep this short.

Last weekend sucked. Saturday? That day that I knew would tear my heart in two again? Yeah. It did.

My depression? It's at Defcon 1. {Which, contrary to popular belief, is actually more serious than Defcon 5.}

I can't really leave the house because of it--I even stayed home from work on Tuesday--and so while I'm at home, and on the days when I can actually get out of bed, I'm going to take the above Post-It note's advice.

Or at least think about it.

{Image above? From my Pinterest board.}

Friday, July 29, 2011


When I lived in Mansfield, Ohio, many years ago, there was a gorgeous weeping willow in our next-door neighbor's backyard.  I remember walking home from school and dipping under its branches, feeling so protected by its long, draping leaves, some so lengthy that they touched the ground next to my feet. I'd look up and see a canopy of green, bowed around me like an umbrella, shielding me from all that could fall on me and hurt me.

This weekend, I will be hiding under a different kind of weeping willow. I need protection this weekend. Tomorrow is the anniversary of a day I thought would always be a happy part of my life, and now that it's not, I need to grieve it. Alone, in private, under protection reserved for me. And I am sure there will be some weeping of my own, without branches, without a canopy of green.

I wish I could run my fingers against the dipping branches of that weeping willow in Ohio, the tickle of my childhood running its touch across my hands. How I long to be back there, where danger and hurt only seemed to come in the form of scraped knees from riding a bicycle too quickly or falling off the swing set, instead of from people. 

How I long for that...

{gorgeous image from here}

holy awesome, batman.

Pittsburgh really does kick ass. If you haven't been here, pack your bags now, fill up your tank with gas, and GET HERE.

We really are the Hollywood of the East.

I'm so proud.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

why you should always pee BEFORE you get on an elevator in my office building.

I have fear of elevators. No, really. I do. Remember this post? Thank you, Big Brother Geoff, for giving me PTSD at the age of nine. High five.

Fast forward to me, age thirty-three, and when I'm in an elevator I worry that there will be a similar repeat experience of The Great Elevator Incident of 1987 when my brother got us stuck in an elevator and we had to crawl out onto the floor of a nun's convent. "Holy" shit doesn't even begin to describe what I was thinking.

Yes, go read the post. I'll wait.

Done? Good. So, you can see why I'm not particularly fond of elevators.

Here in 2011, you'd think that elevator technology {and the behavior of those accompanying you in said elevator} would have vastly improved. But when you work in the Liberal Arts College of a major university, you remember that nobody cares about the Liberal Arts, let alone their elevators. And for the six years I've worked at my current job, the elevators have been nothing more than Transportational Boxes of Death, or TBDs. 

There are four of them in my building, each numbered with what appears to be a red label from a very large Dymo Label Maker machine. ELEVATOR 1 the label reads, its red ink angry and menacing. We all know that ELEVATOR 1 actually stands for You are going to die when you step foot into this transportational box of death, so you might want to reconsider and take the stairs. Plus, have you seen your thighs lately?

Today, I stepped onto ELEVATOR 4 {Now boarding for Dante's Fourth Circle of Hell, please watch your step.}, having just returned from picking up a salad and Pepsi for lunch from our bookstore's cafe. If you're lucky enough to even get an elevator within 8 minutes of pressing the call button, you then need to rush into the elevator car before the doors smash you flat, which has been known to happen on a regular basis. I mean, those doors slam shut after being open for only 3 seconds. And it really hurts your boobs if you're standing sideways at the time.


I stepped into ELEVATOR 4 and pressed the button for the sixth floor.

The doors closed.

And then the car just stayed there.  Nothing happened. This is not unusual, you see. These TBDs are highly unreliable and very fussy. But I've learned from experience that if you jump up and down and wiggle a little bit, the car will sometimes start to move. And so that is what I did. Only nothing happened.

Next, I pressed the button for the sixth floor again. Still no movement. I pressed the button another time. Still no movement. I flipped the little emergency start/stop lever, which has been known to "kick" the elevator out of a stuck moment. Only when I flipped the lever this time, the doors opened, and do you know what I saw?


If you wanna see me go totally bat-shit crazy and freak out, put me in an elevator and have the doors open to reveal the elevator shaft.  It's about as pretty a sight as a hairless cat getting a honey wax on a hot summer day.

I started to freak. Of course, because we are the Liberal Arts College and have no money, our elevators don't have "Door Close" buttons. So I couldn't even close the doors! I was forced to lay my eyes on that horrible elevator shaft, the image burning into my brain, the PTSD of the Great Elevator Incident of 1987 washing over me. 

I immediately pushed the emergency call button {each elevator had one installed due to the many, many times people were getting stuck in them in our building}. Campus police answered, calm and cool.

"Campus Police," the officer said.

"It's Laura," I said. {As if I call them on a daily basis.} "I'm stuck in ELEVATOR 4 in College Hall."

"What floor are you on?" the officer asked.

"I don't even know, because all I can see is the elevator shaft OH MY GOD I'M GOING TO DIE IN HERE, AREN'T I?"


"I pressed floor six, but I didn't move, so I flipped the little emergency stop lever and the doors opened but all I can see is the elevator shaft...oh, wait the doors just closed. I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING."

"Are you moving?"

"No, but...wait...I don't know...the lights above the door are saying I am but I can't feel it."

And then suddenly the doors opened to the fifth floor. Like magic. Not the floor I wanted, obviously, but I didn't care. I WAS FREE!

"Oh, the doors just opened!" I yelled with glee. "I'm free! I can get out! OH THAT WAS SO SCARY!"

And I didn't even say goodbye to the officer on the other end. I just high-tailed my ass outta that crazy TBD and took the stairs up one flight to my office.

Can you imagine if I'd been stuck in there for, like, hours? And if I had to pee really bad?

That would have been Very Bad Times, Indeed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

when my own words can't come out.

from here

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

dinnertime thinking.

I sat on the steps of my deck last night, a bowl of leftover penne pasta and olive oil in my hands, and looked out over the busy city below. People coming and going. Cars moving, parking, and moving again. People on bicycles gliding down the street, helmets protecting their heads. What protects their hearts? I wondered.

I ate slowly from my bowl. Chewed with measured rhythm. When the bowl was empty, I still held it. It was warm. I do that, you know. Hold things, even when they're empty.  Synonymous for my own heart right now? Maybe. Or maybe I just liked the feeling of that warm pottery against my palms. These days, I will take all the comfort I can get. But for whatever reason, it felt right. To hold on.

I do that, too. Hold on. Sometimes too long. I've never been good at letting go. Things feel so permanent with me once they begin, once they exist, once the come into being. And when they finish, or die, or disappear, I can't let myself be okay with that. I wish I could. I'm working on it. But I'm very, very slow.

Right now, I'm trying to hold on to a few things. Some are good to hold, some I should let go. But I can't just yet.

I'm doing the best I can. And for right now, that has to be good enough.

Friday, July 22, 2011

au canada!

This is my favourite Canadian. Well, next to Ryan Reynolds, that is. Hey, Brandy? I added the "u" in "favourite" just for you.

I'm a big fat liar. In my previous post today, I said there wasn't much to report. Lies, dirty lies! Actually, let's chalk it up to what I've been referring to lately a Mono Brain. Seriously, people. This here Mono has made me a space cadet. Dumb? I haz it.


What I want to tell you is that I love Canada. And by "Canada", I mean "Brandy." Do you know Brandy? If not, you should. Seriously. She will change your life. I mean, just look at her up there. SHE'S WEARING A HEAD LAMP, PEOPLE.  Need I say more?

Brandy writes this amazing blog, which I read ALL OF THE TIMES and find myself either laughing hysterically, feeling my eyes well up with some sort of liquidy substance, or just wanting to rip through the Interwebz as fast as possible to get to her so that I can hug the living daylights out of her.

{Hmmm. Better re-think that. 'Cause, you know, then she'd be dead. And that's no good.}

Oh, and she also teaches third grade. One of my most favorite-est posts EVER regarding said topic? Right here, people. Grab some Depends. You're not gonna be able to hold your bladder from laughing so hard.

You get my point.

Recently, the darling girl had a giveaway contest on her blog. The topic? Books. {HELLO THAT IS MY MIDDLE NAME} I entered. I won.

I know! I know!

And what did I win?

This book, which arrived in the mail yesterday, courtesy of the Canadian Postal Service {which, it appears, has finally gotten its act together after, ahem, that one time they didn't}:

Thank you, my sweet Miss Brandy. Oh, and the card you included? The weeping. Everywhere. I love you, too. Please get your cuteness here to Pittsburgh stat. Or, you know, invite me to Canada.

Oh, who am I kidding? I'll just invite myself.

There. I just did.  See how I did that?

oh, the truth. the truth!

Not much to report today. Saw this image on Shareable and thought HOLY BANANAS THAT'S SO TRUE. Even for people with graduate degrees. It breaks my heart that our society doesn't value the Humanities like it used to. Big business and money money money are all that seems to be valued these days. Terribly sad.

Le sigh.

Happy Friday anyway, my loves.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


You guys. I am tired. Like, super exhausted why do my limbs feel like they weigh 200lbs each tired.

Mono. What a little bitch.

I just want to sleep...stop my body from moving, recline horizontally on a soft surface, and shut my eyes. I've been doing just that, as a matter of fact, as soon as I get home from work. And my poor little body literally feels like it's sinking through the mattress. 

Yesterday, I arrived at the parking garage at work at 8:20 a.m. But here's the thing: I was literally too fatigued to actually get out of the car. I couldn't lift my legs. I mean, I really couldn't. So I just slept in my car until 9 a.m., my body a tiny bit stronger after that little bit of rest. And then I was able to walk to my office across the street.

So, who wants to come over and take care of me?

Bring tea, please and thank you. Oh, and also puppies. This kind.  Mmkay, thanks.