The curtain closes on the OBR.

What an amazing run we had. I don’t have anything else really new to add from the previous entries that I’ve talked about the rehearsals and performances. The audiences stayed larger in size and I got to see a few people (all from past shows), and I didn’t drop anything else to cause any loud noises. Thank goodness.

I’m so glad – that for everything that did happen – we had some of the biggest audiences we’ve ever had in years. I’m definitely a big nerd, so I really love the history behind this musical and how everyone researched on their own and talked about it backstage. That’s never happened before. Not to mention, I grew very close to our pianist and writer–both of them are amazing souls–and talked to me on a deeper level. I gave the “A Toast” poem to both of them (I wrote it for them)….our pianist called me talented and our writer asked me to look up his poet friend who hosts a group.

Usually I like to take a souvenir away from each show. My souvenir this year was a sore throat, and a feeling of turning green. Yuck. I can honestly say–I’m 75% sure this is the first show in my 3.5 years that I have ever gotten sick during a run of any show. I guess it’s crappy weather and crappy flu season again still. It reminds me of that Guys and Dolls song “Adelaide’s Lament.” I heard that song back in the early 2000s via KET (PBS) and I recorded it – some Broadway dedication night – Mandy Moore sang that song (I thought it was hilarious), Bernadette Peters and others were on there. When my TV-VCR actually worked, I tried finding that recording, but I must’ve recorded over it. I can’t seem to find it online either. Oh well.

Back to OBR…I was given a few “thank you” cards from individuals, which was much appreciated that they showed their appreciation for the thankless job that I do.

Strike went by pretty fast after our last performance and we had our cast party. I missed the big toast with everyone in the main room because I was still working on putting things away. We had pizza, salad, left over junk food and one of our cast members bought a cake. Not to mention all the drinks in the world. I am so happy I won’t have to see a table full of junk: sweets, chips, candy. I am going on a diet from that until the next show… whenever that’ll be. I told everyone I felt like I gained a cow. They’re like, “Where?”

And well, that’s it. That’s a wrap. I bid farewell to the OBR. I’m sure the songs will be haunting my dreams eventually and I may remember something I will write about later on… it’s inspiring me to write poetry about trains though…. so there’s that!

There’s a line at the very end of the play (after the end of the line for OBR) that says “Peter, where do you go from here?”

So…

Stage Manager, where do you go from here?

First and foremost, I will be taking care of me. Something I have not done in three years. I have put off absolutely everything just to help someone else or work a show or event. I’ve put myself on the bottom shelf this whole time with every aspect… and I can’t do that anymore.

-My health: even after a week, thanks to CBD oil I am no longer having to take pain pills often, I don’t hurt nearly as bad and I can function SO MUCH BETTER than usual. I also feel my personality coming back (slowly but surely).
-Maintaining my weight… by not eating the junk food that we’ve served backstage. … and hopefully getting back into evening sunset walks.
-Figuring out how to live that gypsy life.
-Find out what my soul’s life path is. I want to be a real writer. I need to do it.
-And take care of several other private matters as quickly as possible.

On the Jewish front: I will be going into deeper studies about the Holocaust from now until April or May. I am doing this for Anne Frank, as well as searching for facts and ideas to continue writing on some of the stories that I have going at the moment.

On the writing front: I will be redoing my Sailors & Captains book, and bringing it back out in a whole different format than what it was before. I also have a few other stories I’m working on, but I would much rather re-introduce something that is a whole collection first, then move on to everything else.

Oh, and the biggest decision of all…. to go in another month or wait until my original bye date from last year. We shall see.

Until next time.

Chasing Ghosts Around the Corridor

Chasing Ghosts Around the Corridor
by Karen Maeby © 1/20/20

I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
hoping to receive my life’s report
I’m pay-phoning Buffalo Bill with the old wild west
trying to catch a ride on the Pony Express,

I spy one piece of glitter in the dusty road
among a thousand stories that are told
and nothing that’ll grow old as we journey along.

I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor

And then there’s Mary: she carried letters
that became a part of history. The usual story…
Burdened with the age of life, she fell
and now lies at the bottom of the Sea.

A quarter past midnight
a haunting feeling sends chills down my spine
as the clock ticks
and we’re almost out of time

Out with history, out with history.
I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor.

I’m chasing the ghosts down the track
following the past dream’s path,
feeling the wrath of emotions.

I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
hoping to find time, but there is no more.
I’m chasing ghosts around the corridor
hoping to find time, but there is no more.

x

As the Train Goes By
by Karen Maeby © 1/20/20

she watches
as the train blows past…
the trees sway
the dust flies
and she lies there
kicking her feet to the sky
wondering if she should jump
across the train tracks
and hop on
when it stops
and run away to see the world
like a natural born gypsy
to see the lights
to be on the stage
the night life that she was meant to have
she wonders and
she dreams, watching as the train goes by…

One less crab.

Oy. Twice now I lose a hermit crab while I’m working a show. This a.m. when I woke things seemed pretty normal with the crabs: no extra noise, sounds of anything, and nothing out of place when I took a look at them. Right before leaving to go to the CH, I noticed something. I looked closer, and it was an entire crab body laying out. I look at all of them under the ship, the other houses, then I saw Adirae’s shell a few inches away. I’m like, “Nooooo!” (She’s kinda my favorite.) I picked the crab body up and realised it was NOT Adirae but one of the (still) unnamed crabs from the latest adoption. THEN I saw Adirae’s empty shell again and guess what? She was wearing the dead crabs shell. I yelled “Adirae what in the hell did you do?” She ran to the furthest side from me.

I really want to give A the benefit of the doubt and say that she knew the crab was dead and took the shell. But no, I think she might’ve done some fighting to take it over, and in result, a death. Which makes me very upset. I did not adopt these crabs just to lose them.

Needless to say…. That’s the first time this has happened. I purposely took them places with me all day (a few weeks ago) just to make sure things would be okay.

But… I guess… nature. And I’ve never seen what an entire crab looks like and if you really want to know they look like shrimp. Which made me hungry for shrimp. Which makes me a very horrible person.

And when I got home tonight their aquarium was torn up. They moved the food bowl about 6 inches away from where I placed it, and they were digging a mountain through the sand.

In other news, we have one last show today and it’s over. We will strike then have our cast party. Half of me will be very sad, and half of me glad…the glad part only comes with how everyone is getting sick including me and my throat is getting scratchy and I’m feeling angry inside due to that. Being sick or feeling of getting sick makes me want to hibernate. But I was trying my best to put on a happy face for the second show because my energy went down fast and cough drop after cough drop. Ugh.

I need my Jewish penicillin. Badly.

Shabbat – a couple of poems, update, OBR stuff – edit

Riddle Song
by Karen Maeby © 1/17/2020

do i write in riddle, or do i write in song?
i have always felt like it was you all along
it’s like – dreaming about someone that is never there
and wondering if they’ll ever be
in present day, in the physical
before death takes us away and we move on
to whatever G-d has planned for us in the future
could the moon, the sun, and the planets
capture the stars that align into place
so we can meet, our eyes–first glance–greet
one another with such pure love, we have know
it was meant to be in some form … future or past
but not the present day, it wouldn’t last
there’s baggage to be gone through,
tossed away, buried, thought about and analyzed
for anything to work… our souls must be clear..
i wish for you, by the genie in the bottle, by G-d’s prayer
i wish for you in every which way and here
i swear, i wish for you my darling, i wish for you
to kiss your lips of pure joy,
to see that beautiful smile again,
intense eye contact that would take anyone’s breath away,
and a hug that would last forever and two million days….

x

I have to give thanks to Rachael Sage for my writing above because I’ve been listening nonstop to her music and it’s taking me to a place I haven’t been in a long time. I’ve read a majority of her poems on her website and it’s like reading my own writing. There were several times I had to catch my breath. I’m going to put out in the universe that I hope that one day we can meet. I want her to produce / write the music to She’s My Jewish Song… one of my most favorite poems I’ve ever written. But anyway, I’ve become very much inspired in writing poetry again… and just generally writing.

Speaking of Jewish… it’s Shabbat–my favorite day–and well I miss, I just miss….. I feel so far away from my own soul’s belonging… how’d it even come down to that? I’m sure it’s going to be that way until I leave. Just a few more months, if not just one. I still haven’t decided yet. It’s a really big decision and it’s all depending on the remainder of this month and what exactly I want to do and can do with what I am given at the moment. Either way, I need to get back in the habit of reading my emails from the Talmud-Jewish Learning, Alma, Aish, Kveller and others… I just had to literally cut out everything due to working this show. I don’t even get to go to Shabbat services again this week due to Fri night performance. I hope there’s some upcoming events or something there, maybe the food festival coming up or that same class day from Jan last year. I know I’ve RSVPed to go to Anne Frank’s Let Me Be Myself life story opening at the Holocaust Museum. I can’t wait to go, experience, and write about it.

And speaking of the show…. We went to V’s again last night. I guess it’s much easier to go have a drink Thursday whereas if we did Friday, we have two shows on Saturday, and it’s not exactly easy to recover for…. so, in the future, I’m going to stick with that schedule. Speaking of drinks, our pianist whispered to me, “Is it okay if I bring champagne to our cast party Sunday?” Oh! AB-SO-LUTE-LY…. we will drink all the drinks. We deserve it. Not only were there a lot of problematic things we had to conquer through, but we have had SOLD OUT SHOWS (or very near to) and this is a huge brand new record for us…!!!! Much deserved.

It is day 5 of being on CBD Oil and I really honestly think it’s working. I am feeling a lot less cloudy than when I had to take (otc-headache/ibp/Tylenol) pain pills every day. For the amount I was taking, it literally makes me sick just thinking about it. What was wrong with me? I hate pills. I was never for them. I can’t believe I was in so much pain that I had to take them as often as I did. With weening off them, and on to CBD oil, I feel my real personality coming back and creativity and not being so blocked off. I don’t have any side effects. Not tired after taking it. I almost feel like I think I felt in 2018 – very energetic and ready to go, go, go and do, do, do. I really hope this continues…because it’s going to be a win for me to get back to the glittery feeling of 2018. I have missed that me… the me that had a ball full of endless energy where I slept very few hours and could get so much done. In another route to become more energetic and hopefully pure – I found a few items like bath wash, hair oil, face wash, oil / serum for face – all with hemp. The bath wash seems to work well along with hot water. I’ve gone green tea, hemp/cbd and coconut oil.

I mentioned in one of the previous entries that I was going to draw a trailer and put one of our actor’s names on it. I did, and he loved it. He put on the dressing room door and then kept moving it around because everyone would sit where he’d place it. It was just hilarious. I just found my notes on my phone of what “continuing” story I was going to write for everyone involved in the OBR. I hope I have time to work on it. It won’t be a real story with correct wording, punctuation and the like… it’ll be something like the character stories I develop during the SOAs but in a little bit different way. I am a little more comfy being backstage and not so nervous waiting for the next scene, so I guess I can start writing then.

by Karen Maeby © 2020

those red lips
i kiss
taste of cherry lipgloss
and you’re wearing a green dress
you’re like.. an unwrapped
christmas present just waiting to be explored
those red lips
there’s a treasure map
i have to follow
every inch of your body
connect the dots, connect to the stars
i wait
and you say i’m ready
and we explore
each others minds on a psychic level
where we never touch
but use our minds
to move around the matter
around us, the Universe, and such
we each smile and we can feel it
we stare across ten thousand miles of ocean
and we can feel each other
as we breath…. as deeply as we can…

Remember the poem I wrote about Mary – the ship – a few entries back titled My Bonafacio? Well. I am so very creeped out … I did some more in depth research today and I found out that THAT VERY SHIP WAS SOLD TO THE ORANGE BELT RAILROAD. How in *THE* world did the FIRST piece of history I ever had a SOULFUL connection to in Gulfport turn out to be a part of THE MUSICAL I AM STAGE MANAGING RIGHT NOW? I’m beyond a little freaked out. THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES!!!!!!????? WHAT. But what does it all mean???????????

And, I say “soulful connection” because right where the ship Mary Disston sank is where I had many bouts of inspiration and feelings. Every time I walk that pier. I felt drawn to it. Superbly.

THERE ARE SIGNS ABSOLUTELY EVERY WHERE.

Pay.

Attention.

(I’m going to be a little on edge the rest of the day.)

A Toast 
by Karen Maeby © 1/17/20 
written/dedicated to our pianist & writer of OBR 

We make a toast – 
with champagne, wine, bourbon and beer 
as our talented pianist plays some familiar tune 
that everyone starts singing and dancing to… 

As we have arrived in the 20s again 
we’re in the neighborhood corner bar 
and there’s a million stories just waiting 
to be written about the ghosts buried in the walls. 

There’s a sense of historical value 
placed on our meeting time and place 
and the era of which we’ve fallen back 
to live and breathe for one last weekend. 

We’ve taken a journey to the past 
where the history books got around fast 
and the characters develop over time 
leaving their words of poetic value to rhyme. 

Our pianist delivers–in distinguished ratings–
and our playwright smiles proud of his work 
coming alive before him on the stage–
lights up: the story begins, and will soon end. 

We make a toast – 
with champagne, wine, bourbon and beer 
as our talented pianist plays some familiar tune 
To the Orange Belt Railroad! 

PS – I have some definite gray hair coming in at the direct front of my hair. I am going to blame the group tomorrow and see what they say. ha.

Shoe to Drop (poem)

Shoe to Drop
by Karen Maeby © 1/16/20

Waiting for the other shoe to drop–
will it be from Dorothy, a ballet slipper or a strippers?
Asked the psychic next door,
and she told me to consult my dreams:
That the truth lies deep in my intuition. 

I wrap my mind with a cloak these days
as it’s been nothing beyond a cloudy day,
hoping for the sun to shine with glitter again.
Flipping through the book of knowledge, hanging on
to every word and trying to make sense of it all. 

Lyrics stay stuck in my mind–constantly on repeat–
and I stay there instead.
I compare the books of the last few decades
Why is it that the truth of the statement is always there?
Repeating history repeats history. 

Lost the color in my life, it got stuck in the 50s
between the black and white.
My photos are that of sepia
and my words are of operatic value
being sung by sopranos deep in the classical era. 

Ballroom gowns and proper attire,
I play the harpsichord but I’m no Mozart.
I’m just living in his requiem…
Waiting for the other shoe to drop–
will it be from Dorothy, a ballet slipper or a strippers? 

Pick the dance: square, hip hop, jazz, waltz.
It doesn’t matter, I’ll get lost any way.
I’m just waiting…patiently
to steal the key and unlock that lock
to live freely again inside your heart. 

Waiting for the other shoe to drop–
will it be from Dorothy, a ballet slipper or a strippers?
Asked the psychic next door,
and she told me to consult my dreams:
That if I keep to my soul: I can make anything happen. 

OBR week 1: unlocked

Aaaahhhh. Our 10 days nonstop is finally over and we get a break the next few days. Although, I am working auditions for M & T night, that only leaves W unless people are wanting to get together for a brush up before our final weekend.

I know I said I was going to not write (and I have been absent from here) but I really don’t want to forget OBR memories and instead of writing them down and never typing them up… why not share as well. I am very tired and barely keeping my eyes open so if I make zero sense.

Thursday the 9th: We had an amazing crowd… close to being sold out (if I can remember correctly)…which is highly unusual being on an opening night for us in the past. The audience laughed and clapped where needed and kept good energy flowing through to on stage. Afterwards we went to V’s and had our normal opening drink. That place is small and we literally took up every table in there.

Friday the 10th: Good audience again. If you happened to be in the audience and heard a reeeeeeally loud bang-bang-bang clunk on stage left (audience right). Oh, that would have been the stage manager just ruining a moment on accident. I was trying to get a coat for an actor going on in the next scene and it pulled the broom and two (fake) guns down with it and I couldn’t catch them fast enough before it hit the floor. I was severely pissed at myself. Everyone said, “LET IT GO” and I’m like “BUT I MADE NOISE. I AM ALWAYS THE ONE TALKING ABOUT NO NOISE BACKSTAGE AND I WAS THE WORST OF THEM ALL.” You are your own worst critic (and enemy?)…this right here at that moment.

Saturday the 11th: Matinee was a good crowd, the evening… not so much… In between shows we went down to NG and ate. First time I think we had a table of 18 or more.. at least for a MainStage show. We always do this even for the one acts (and I’ve had my birthday gathering there the last 2-3 years) but whew a huge amount of folks at one table.

Sunday the 12th: We had very close to a sold out show. Very good energy and this was the best show of all 4 we’ve had so far. After the show was over, I went through and did my duties: as they were taking their bows I went to the back cleaning up the table, when they were back in the green room taking their costumes off I left to set up for act I so I wouldn’t have to do it on Thursday and when everyone was close to leaving I cleaned up all dishes, food, took the trash out and other random things that needed to be done for our 3 day absence.

I think some people were beginning to get sick, so I sprayed lots of lysol all over everything and put in a request for bathroom to be cleaned by the janitorial staff. We have about 20 men and women using 1 bathroom and it’s just gross.

Anyway, overall the crowd has been respondent. Apparently there are great reviews going out all over Facebook, but I wouldn’t know nor have I seen it. I logged out of all social media and deleted fB, fBmessenger, twitter, instagram from my phone and I have refused to log in to see it via web. The only reason I have been making OBR posts through my author account is because that’s through FB Pages and I control my work’s stuff on there. I’ll be back soon enough but I have to put focus on doing my very best as SM for OBR so I will get chosen for more in the future (or get good recommendations).

Little things….

The cast scares me just a little. I can say this on here because I’ve told them to their faces “You all are so weird and I worry very much about you” … next comes them saying “But why??????” There are times where I have to stop them mid conversation and say “are you guys just playing or do I need to worry about you and the situation that’s happening right now?”

One of our actors said he wanted his own trailer. See, the CH was never built for us, we use it because this is what we have to work with…. but small dressing rooms that only fit about 3 people in mens/womens and one bathroom. We have a ridiculously large cast… soo….. anyway, I think he was just trying to be funny when he said since I was the stage manager I was going to give him his own trailer. Yes. I will. I will draw a trailer out on a piece of paper and put his name on it. There. He has his own trailer. I can be such a silent smartass sometimes. I can’t wait until this happens next week. It’s going to be funny to see his reaction.

Saw the president/creator of SAGES along with a surprise visit from a long time theatre friend (that was in Corset Line). She came all the way from SC to see us. I’ve seen a few friends from the theatre but not anyone else. I only tend to stay up there until about 730 or so and once people are in the auditorium I don’t go in there.

The writer of our play drives our pianist, so we’ve been spending a lot of time with them. After I brought in my hermit crab babies, a day later he gave me 3 (unpublished) books that he had written about a hermit crab. It’s very touching, my heart was bursting into flames of happy. I feel like I was supposed to meet him, because oddly enough, I felt like I was reading my own mind reading the books and thinking about the book I have started notes on about hermit crabs. It’s crazy. I love these random meant to be and coincidental moments. (I have to remember: there are no coincidences, it’s supposed to happen.)

Last but not least…

I really love and appreciate how EVERYONE has gone out of their way to look up history about either their characters or the OBR or just anything about that time. There are a couple of books popping up backstage. We have grown our wall to about 8 or something people from the era. We’ve been spewing out facts and new things like crazy.

Here’s another… coincidence.. if you will.

I can’t remember what year it was that I discovered Gulfport, but after I did, I kind of fell deeply in love with it. I started doing my own research on it and one of the most fascinating pieces of history about this place was Gulfport was called Disston City in 1884. The postal service wouldn’t recognize the name as it conflicted with a town in Hillsborough Co. So then it was named Bonafacio. 1890 it was changed to Veteran City then 1910 to Gulfport.

I always loved the name of Bonafacio, and took great interest in one of the apartment buildings in the middle of Beach Blvd because it used to be the post office. Anyway, I love how OBR kind of explores that topic as well (OBR: every city ought to have a name…. then the postal service won’t recognize the city without a name)… funny how that was a good part in the history I looked up.

Here’s a poem I wrote. It’s with the old town name and Mary is reference to the sinking ship on the long pier. The ship would bring passengers to/from here, and to the casino.

My Bonifacio
5/4/14 © Karen Maeby

My Bonifacio, enlighten me.
Pull me in with your rope,
and anchor down my heart
until it drowns in the water
and Mary haunts my dreams.

Right where she sank,
the only means of communication dies
and I’ve never felt more alive.

A small lunch update.

Hiya guys. I’m taking a few moments for lunch and wanted to give an update while I can. Hell week is hell week for a reason. Saturday was just a mess. We moved from the back door to the CH. Why is it every single time we do a move it rains? Luckily, we were able to take all of load one inside before it poured. They had to go back for the train platform and interior. Saturday was dealing with setting up everything, construction (there wasn’t much), organization, finalizing lights to the best they could, getting sound to work, spiking the stage and hooking up our pianist’s keyboard. When our actors arrived, we had cue to cue and tested out literally everything as it happened. I was very frustrated because it’s a whole lot different being on the actual wings of the stage on headset vs. watching from an audience point of view like we do at the back door when we are practicing. I had to get used to who needed to be on stage and wings at lights up or who were walking on as the lights go up. For the ones on stage right entrances (where I can’t see in the dark if they’re there or not) I had to come up with a signal so I would know because I’m the one telling the booth lights up. We had a few mishaps here and there.. but what do you expect when this weekend was the first time everyone was together after starting practicing in November.

So, not only does 90% of the entrances and exits happen on stage left (where I am located on headset) but a lot of the pieces of furniture live also. When it was time to clear the stage right before the last scene of Act I, they pushed all the furniture to where I was completely blocked in… talking about hyperventilating with anxiety due to claustrophobia. It went sky high. I was like, “Um. We can’t do this. This can’t be here. I can’t be blocked in like this.” (Even though it was only for one scene right before intermission and I could do whatever I wanted with it.) It only took a few seconds for me to logistically think about the size of furniture and what room I had to work with it. So now the ones helping is putting the furniture in places where I’m not blocked in. Anything that basically came up on my end, I fixed right away. Sunday’s cue to cue / lights / sound check rehearsal went better, Monday and Tuesday even more smoothly. Tuesday evening one of the actors brought me his money bag and said, “the handle broke” and I’m like, “Well, shit.” (Our director totally called that happening so I had to tell her she was right.) So tonight I have to fix that. But overall, it’s getting better. It really does take a day or two to get things moving along as they should be. (And an entire village to work together.) That’s for sure. Here we are arrived at Wednesday… our last dress rehearsal and performances start tomorrow. Exciting! Every night I have arrived home super late and not getting to bed until about 11 or midnight as I was anticipating. I’ve even fallen asleep texting the last couple days. Oops.

Usually we have another person helping backstage, but once again, even though I asked a few people their schedules wouldn’t allow it… I’m working alone. Which is fine. Because I can get things done twice as fast because I already know everything on my to-do list and when I want to do them. I’ve had to tell everyone several times that there’s not even any way I can get to them during the show because I need to be on headset the entire time (at least for the beginning) in case there are issues. That part makes me nervous.

I’m so happy I finally have my chance at stage managing a main stage show with GCP. It’s been a long time coming but I’m glad my first time was with a musical where there’s a thousand things happening and with this many people involved. I now have the experience I need to write on my resume if I ever wanted to do paid theater. The challenge with stage managing though is sometimes they have to have technical experience which is a whole other ballgame because I’m terrified of working lights/sound at the CH especially since the sound booth you have to go up a tiny straight up and down ladder and you’re boxed in. Also in the works (after this show is over) is figuring out what jobs I can get using the skills I’ve learned as a SM. I really, really, really want to get into catering/food organization or event planning. I’ve loved helping clean up at the synagogue when we’ve had dinners (apparently throwing things in the trash is relaxing?) and setting up for events… I’ve been doing that since I was involved as a teacher’s aide in middle school. That’s when I actually did know a thing or two about sound and lights. Anyway, I have a lot to do once this show is over, as I’m planning to take my next steps asap asap asap so I can move on with life!

I adopted two new baby hermit crabs… now I have 6 total. I actually have them at work with me because I am going to take them to rehearsal for the second day in a row. Just having them next to me is calming and I don’t feel stressed out. It’s so funny because I had a couple of friends say to me, “I have been thinking about what you can name your two new crabs!” And I’m like, “Does.. that make me a bad crab mom because I haven’t even thought about that.” Ha. I’ve been too busy with making sure all my responsibilities are taken care of and the rehearsals are running smoothly.

I’m having an extremely hard time with missing Eisenhower right now. I used to just stare at him, in his little tiny crabby eyes, wondering what’s inside his mind. I miss his waking me up in the morning. I miss his grand personality. There are a few friends of mine in the musical that remembers Eisenhower too and we were talking E memories the last few nights. I’m still just so heart broken. I’m adopting crabs to try to find my next E, and maybe that makes me so horrible. I feel guilty after I admitted that the other day. Someone said, “You’ll never find another Eisenhower. He was something special.” Yep. They’re right. The good news is some of them are starting to make noise at night which makes me happy to know they’re active. I’m seeing personality…. except I saw something today I hope I don’t see again. Adirae was bothering Chailah and Chailah took her claw and was about ready to pinch Adirae’s face. I separated them. I think Adirae might be the closest one to E. She’s the most curious crab of them all. I just wish she wouldn’t go and bother the others like I witnessed today. Even Havali was giving her the claw and she’s the most chillest “I don’t give a damn” crab I have.

On a different note, on the 4th day of the new year, Saturday, I went to the mall just to walk around in the evening… after the long 9-5 day we had at the CH… and I decided to do something for myself. I’ve been in so much pain the last couple of years and since I can’t afford to go to the doctor and have them run a million tests, I looked into ordering some cbd oil. I am hoping and praying that this move will help with my pain and also the depression and anxiety and whatever else that pops up. I’ve been so against this treatment, and well, never say never. I just hope it works. It won’t be arriving until next week so no update yet.

I’ve got a song in my heart and it’s you.
It’s always been you
I really miss you.
My heartstrings are being pulled
by the bunches and knotted up
tangled, by the emotions that was of yesterday,
and yearning for something of the future.
Unspoken requests from the Universe
little droplets of starlight–stardust–
the wishes, the hopes, the prayers.
That one day there will be a way,
and we’ll be together again some day.

Maybe I’ll pencil it in
just in case I can help make it come true.
But for now, I have to let you go,
work on me and my soul.
I am walking away now…
Always with the goal: we’ll be together again
…..some day.

Happy 2020 and all that Jazz.

In reality: I said my goodbye a little bit prematurely, and I apologize. I definitely won’t be writing anymore for a while after this post, you’re just getting lucky to be able to read something one last time. We have OBR rehearsal tomorrow night, our last day off is Friday (last free night to do chores like laundry and such), then enter 10 days nonstop from Saturday-Sunday the following week, so I will literally be going straight from work to rehearsals/performances. I think we will get M,T,W off after a week then we do it all over again that weekend. Two weeks of that. I’ve already logged out of all my social accounts to prep me, and I’ve been getting a lot more done already, so yay! Anyway, I felt a little obligated–as any writer or blogger would be–to do a write up about the previous year and toast to the new one.

So….I can be a very fun person (I only say this because people have told me), but guess what? I was superbly boring yesterday for New Years Eve. My back was hurting to the nTH power so I took Tylenol then passed out… at around 8 or 9 and I completely missed entering 2020. Oh well. I even made a special trip to Publix for cheesecake and chocolate milk so I can toast in the new year. Maybe next year I’ll make it until midnight. I’m getting too old for that nonsense unless I’m out and about with people. It doesn’t really matter. I haven’t even watched the ball drop probably in ten years. My heart/soul/body/mind says my new year is in the fall–aligned with the Jewish New Year. That’s more important, anyway.

Here’s my write-up about 2019: fuck (almost) everything about 2019 except for…. my Jewish conversion, the events or classes I attended at CBI, working Corset Line / Next Fall / Summer One Acts and OBR (now) along with the few get togethers I got to have with friends. Everything else in 2019 was awful, awful, awful. 2019 was THE WORST year after having the best year I’ve ever had in 2018. I don’t even want to look back, except for my Jewish conversion. That portion of 2019 I love very much.

Now that I got that out of my system, I feel a little bit better.

If anything, I am hoping that 2020 will bring back jazz…as if it really ever went out of style or away. It never went away in my heart…I say that as one of my past lives was lived during that time. I was definitely a lesbian living on the DL… just like one of the characters in a jazzy play that I wrote that I haven’t had performed yet. I’m not quite sure what I did, but maybe I was a writer then too. In present day: I want to wear pearls every day, wear more red and black and glitter, find and wear both a flapper dress (feminine) and a tuxedo (masculine) … at different times, obviously. I will dream in jazz and MadMen colors covered in smoke from the bars. I will write about booze, cigars and cigarettes, but I will try to not to make those my vices. I will view magic, mood rings, psychics in a different way… I want to explore everything I can about the 20s so that I can write stories and poetry in an updated version. I already have so much that I can put into a book, so that might even happen. (Yes, it will. I’m starting to plan it.) I have a bunch of really fun short plays about jazz that I haven’t done anything with, either, so maybe it’s time. During these 20s, I will find and carve my way towards the upscale French life, jazz on the streets, and inspiration that is pouring from the atmosphere enough that I can write three hundred books… not entirely from my dreams, because I’m going to make it my reality. Now I’ve finally decided that’s where I want to go, I’m having a hard time deciding exactly when.

Either way, after I’ve taken my break and this musical is ovverrrrrr, you will be seeing a whole lot more 20s things from me. This is my era, and I’m going to own it.

Dec 2016 into Jan 2017 I was working Parfumerie, which was the 3rd play straight-in-a-row I helped with after getting involved for SOAs’16 for the first time. A couple of us that’s in OBR together was reminiscing. I’ve worked a ton of plays, so I’ve seen a lot of set designs, and I have to say that Parfumerie was one of the best–if not THE best. The set was painted pink. We had a poof seat, Christmas decorations, HP storefront, and so much more. The main attraction was (I think?) close to 200 perfume bottles. I remember going through all of the bottles and making the terrible mistake of sniffing them before filling each up with water. The majority of the scents stunk very badly and it took forever to get it out of our noses! Want to know a really cool fact? I have at least 3 of those round poof spritzer perfume bottles, a few small oddly shaped ones, and one of a woman’s bust. Those perfume bottles are some of my most favorite “play souvenirs” that I have.

During the era of Parfumerie, I was inspired so much by the colors and perfume bottles that I started writing a lot of jazz-based writings. Here’s pieces of the blog entry that I wrote back in 2017, as well as a poem. Enjoy – and for real – this is goodbye for now.

xoxoxo –

Now… flash back to the past….

PARFUMERIE – this piece originally written 1/22/17

At last, there will be no more Christmas music, no more mention of Christmas, and no more looking at Christmas anything (except for the fact that my tree is still up here at home). I will explain later why I am severely glad that part is over.

The cast/crew of Parfumerie are all beautiful people–made up of new faces, same faces from Summer One Acts, and ones I’ve just never met but everyone else knew. Everyone’s very talented and I am so happy to have been a part of it. OH and since this was my 3rd time to help backstage, I finally got my GP Tech shirt that I lovelovelovelovelove soooooooo much! 

The stage design–if I had a house–that is exactly how I would want at least my parlor to look like: pink, with a poof seat, shadow box, lots of glitter, perfume bottles, a chandelier, and the like. Perfection! Needless to say, I LOVED IT.

The story itself is a sweet story. Most people in the millennial age would know You’ve Got Mail to be the 2nd rendition of this story with Shop Around the Corner being right before that one. I’m glad I was introduced to Parfumerie in this way as a play. It has two overlying stories about the shop owner and then about two shop clerks but at the end it’s a love story. That’s as much as I want to say without giving it away.

If you had no idea about Parfumerie but you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail you would definitely pick it out at the end just like I did. I’m like, “I SEE IT. I TOTALLY SEE YOU’VE GOT MAIL!”

And now… is the part where I explain that this play just isn’t a play to me, it’s a little piece of life. 

It’s funny–that. This same weekend nine years ago I was still working at my first job in retail and we were completely closing the store down. I often referred to You’ve Got Mail — big bad Fox books large retailer taking over the mom&pop ‘shop around the corner’ — and I would look to this movie over and over for answers about my future… of where I was going to go, what I was going to do, and so on once our store closed.. and oddly enough, this same week THIS year, I have been asked that again in a different circumstance, and once again, I am so up in the air. None of this is by coincidence. It’s the universe sending signals of some sort, and I need to figure out out. I need to actually have answers this time. It’s all too funny that the same message comes back around nine years later but in a totally different way. 

The director of Parfumerie had a talk with everyone prior to opening show and he said that “everyone has a story”. I keep seeing that everywhere. It’s a sign. I need to run with this. It’s relative to what I’m trying to do in my life, and for my projects. Now, he was actually talking about the characters but it’s for real life too. When I think about our characters (customers) in this show, I remember my favorite customers when I worked at that job before I left, and what ever happened with them. There was this cute little Jewish couple that would come in late and try on shoes, there was a lady with long gray hair, there was another one that always wore skirts, there was one crazy lady that gave me her phone number, and the one guy that came in every.single.day to buy a shirt. There were several others but those memories have since faded. Some of our decorations in this play reminded me of our themed Christmas one year of “Shake Your Goodys” of which I still have some of the souvenirs at my parent’s house.

And, if anyone wondered what happened to me after our store officially closed, I got another retail job inside the mall and then left that for another job a few months later in the outdoor mall just down the street. I never had any regular customers after that, I never saw any of them again, and there was never another “staff like family” like there had been at my first job. At least I knew in my heart of all hearts that those were the good days and I took it all in before it was gone, but I also knew it was time to say goodbye.  

Premature Goodbye
by Karen Maeby © 1.26.17

she’s considering packing her belongings
in her 1920s suitcases
and leaving everything else behind.

she knows she belongs somewhere,
but doubts it’s here anymore.
a brand new start yet again
is probably what her heart needs
after being left alone and wondering
why he broke her so fucking hard–

and the world, her world
came crashing down like a beautiful
chandelier falling from the ceiling
during a tornado that randomly passed through
without warning.

he left her speechless, but full of words
as he gave her everything
and then took it all away!

she’s looking to the moon tonight
to give her a reason to stay
maybe he’ll come back to her one day.
‘god, i missed you so much’
they’ll say to one another
as they realized it was meant to be.

but she’s really leaving
is it really worth it to stay?
he doesn’t care one bit–he walks away.

she decided it’s best to pack her bags,
it’ll be soon she’ll say goodbye
and off on her merry little way. 

Gone Fishing

I only tried gefilte fish once 
at Passover with a million other dishes. 
I was later introduced to nova through nachos,
and then came the lox 
with bread: the addictive Hawaiian rolls or challah 
Cuz challahbackgirl…..it’s Shabbat!!! 
Nova and lox and lox and nova 
a simple yet complex Jewish staple. 
Enter all those fishes from my past 
yet none of them on my plate would ever last. 
Yummy. Blackened is my favorite way, 
Shabbat is my favorite day. 
I am trying to rhyme like Hemingway. 
“Gone fishing” is what my sign say, 
but it’s not what you think. 

I’m stuck in a realm of spoken text 
and music with lyrics 
I dream about it every single night—
Go to bed with one song 
wake up with another….
Over and over and over and over again.  
Back and fourth.
One song then the next.
Where is it taking me? What is the destination? 
The space station? 
The train. On a train. A rust-bucket train. 
So many lyrics inside my brain. 
The train. A train. What train? 
I’m stage managing a musical about a train and 
all these lyrics are stuck so far deep inside my brain. 
I write-I’ve gone fishing-
but not for nova or lox or gefilte fish. 
I’ve hung up my sign I’ve gone fishing,
due to responsibilities to do with a train. 

xoxo 

Happy New Year 2020, everyone! I hope you have a fabulous one and I’ll see you on the flip side. I need to start letting some things go so that I can solely focus on stage managing so I probably won’t be writing on this blog for a few weeks… check back every once in a while just in case… I might not even do the socials for a while. We’ll see. Oh and do yourself a favor and see Knives Out – it is a very delicious film of artistic value and a whole lot more.

Call, text or email if you absolutely need me. DO NOT rely on sending me messages on Facebook, FB messenger, Instagram or Twitter… I probably will not answer.

Until next time…..!

Lights, lights, lights

Tonight I am sitting on the porch with my menorah (mostly because it’s hot inside and I really don’t want to turn on the ac in December) watching the last few lit candles dance down in darkness to some unsung tune. I am admiring the way that the wax dripped down on the menorah creating some sort of untamed art. It’s very poetic. It’s also kinda cool seeing glitter on the table too… when I have no idea why there’s glitter on this table… except I guess everything is covered in glitter if it belongs to me?

she sings
as the last candle burns out
her soul is still dancing
and it stays lit
even when the town
turns down for the night.
the stars
twinkle, twinkle and glitter-glitter
in the night’s moonlight
and she wishes up on the brightest
as she calls out to G-d
to help her find her bashert.

With the secular year ending, I am hoping for some new and happier beginnings, as my first Jewish new year didn’t start out so hot (unfortunately)……but maybe if there were a lot more tacos involved, then maybe perhaps it would have been a lot better. But seriously, it is truly the year for change, and I am trying my very best to make things happen as early as possible so I can get a move on in my life and get to where I am needing to be going…..the path that is destined for me by G-d. Especially so that I can meet who I am supposed to meet in my life.

Earlier, I was listening to some of my records and cleaning a bit and I thought how much I love Judaism. How glad I am to have found it. I know I definitely wouldn’t have found as much meaning in life if I didn’t see the light the first night of Hanukkah in 2017. (And I still don’t know why I keep spelling it that way but I do.) Even now, I sit here and think how many wonderful things have come from my Jewish journey. That and returning to theatre were definitely two of the best things I ever did in my life. Both have enriched my life so very much in many, many ways.

I thought about the chai and Star of David necklaces that I never take off. The meaning of life, being Jewish and the journey of becoming Ahava. It’s all so important. Everything in my life has always been centered around the words: life, love, light. I’ve always known that love can’t be bought. Love exists within and you can’t truly love if hate/fear (also jealousy) are present. Be the light.. the one to help light the rest. Truly taking chances, living life before settling, taking risks and not being the hermit crab that doesn’t change homes…. G-d gave us a wide variety of choices to explore for a reason.

Next year for Chanuka (or right before), I want to get 8 children’s books that talk about the holiday and see what I can learn. In a way, I do feel like I have lost a lot by not growing up Jewish, however, I am just starting out so it is okay for those feelings and not knowing everything and understanding (if I don’t) and etc. Being Jewish means questioning everything and learning every single day. Both two things I really love to do. With the accounts I follow on Instagram, I’m constantly seeing so many Chanuka books and I kind of want to be/see that too. You know?

Going back to light. I have always loved candles. I have always loved Christmas lights. The last several years–before finding my way to Judaism–I knew Christmas wasn’t for me anymore. But I always found comfort in the colorful blinky lights, going through ornaments from family and years past, and the traditions that come with it. When my grandma was living (age 16 and younger), we went to Illinois or Indiana for the holidays. Doing the same thing mostly–family, opening presents the same way, the dinners, fun times. Then she died, and I told my mom it wasn’t going to be the same ever again. I knew. Even at a young age, I knew. When I still lived at home, we’d continue to go to Indiana then everyone started having families and moving all across the US and it just got too difficult to do anything. My aunt passed away in early 2018, and my mom said the same thing I said when grandma died.

Thank goodness I wanted to be a writer when I was younger because that’s all I have to rely on…. my writing. My memory is fading fast, but with rereading things I’ve written, I quickly remember… and that is all I have: memories. It just makes me wonder and think–why did G-d put me in this position? Is it because later on I was supposed to become Jewish but I had to go through the realms of losing the majority of my family (that kept to tradition) and all parts of that to really understand and appreciate my future as a Jew? The tradition? Family? Memories? But where is my Jewish family? The one that is supposed to help me embrace Judaism? I cry out to G-d for this, now.

(I swear…some of the things mom/dad does, it’s very Jewish. I really think it’s in my blood.)
This was one of the Hanukkah presents mom sent along.

Last night we had the Chinese dinner at CBI that I wouldn’t shut up about. It was delicious and I was very happy and refreshed after going. Put me in a lot better spirits than I had been all week. We had tiny presents on our table: dreidel and gelt…and fortune cookies!

It’s getting to be about that time where I’m going to have to stop all other activity (other than work) and solely focus on stage managing… because I’ll be going straight from work into rehearsals or performances and will be too exhausted to do anything else. So maybe one or two more entries over the next few days and that’s it for a bit. I’m sure I’ll fill up notebooks before the 2 weeks are over. Today the writer of the musical (he spends rehearsals with us) asked me what song was stuck in my head this morning. Ha ha. I think I seriously need to lay off the fireball right before bed because I have had nothing but weird and vivid dreams. And that is where I will end this entry…. here is a poem that I wrote earlier in the year. I am reposting it because of the light/candle subject and the dreams that I keep having.

7/9/2019 by Karen Maeby

part I

at night the candle dances
creating a song, expelling from her soul
and sent into her lover’s dreams

like a letter in the mail, sealed with a kiss.
she lies there awake
waiting for the moment for her destiny
to wake up… to hear her voice (again)
the one that sounds like an angel
and the arms that hold her so tightly
into the Universe, producing
a thousand melodies on a bed of roses.
their unconditional love is that beautiful.
will her lover hear her call? will she respond?
she prays to G-d with everything she’s got
that through the darkness of the night,
her lover will respond to the light.

part II

there was a moment she had her
cradled in her arms
lightly kissing her–saying it’s going to be okay–
to be brave, as she washes all of her fears away.
their eyes meet upon a darkened stage
and when the lights turn on
you can hear Phantom of the Opera’s
“All I Ask of You” playing to the tune of their hearts:

Let me be your shelter,
let me be your light;
you’re safe, no one will find you,
your fears are far behind you.

All I want is freedom,
a world with no more night;
and you, always beside me,
to hold me and to hide me.

Then say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime;
let me lead you from your solitude.
Say you need me with you, here beside you,
anywhere you go, let me go too,
Christine, that’s all I ask of you

Say you’ll share with me one love, one lifetime;
say the word and I will follow you.

Part III

That lovely soulful song is played on the grand piano
and a rose is laid on top of the sheet music…
She plays it by heart, memorized, for the rest of her life
she closes her eyes
and she can’t get her lover’s eyes out of her mind.
Every night she goes to bed
and dreams, and dreams, and dreams–and asks–
will the other half of her soul hear her
through the dreams…that bring the light through the dark
?

She’s still waiting for a reply, a letter back, a remark…
She is hopeful inside and out–her heart and soul–
that she’ll hear something before the dancing candle
deep within the soul blows out and into the wind.
And, she closes her eyes… and prays to G-d..
will she get an answer? Will she ever get the call?

creds to Phantom of the Opera for “All I Ask of You” lyrics