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Archive for January, 2010

This made me feel better:

JACOB: I want my mama.
SIRI: me too. but MY mama. take some medicine, drink lots of fluids and go to sleep. that’s what our mamas would say. also they would rub our backs maybe. also read us stories.
LINDSEY: Who will take care of us here?
JACOB: each other.

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my mind’s burning

Alright. I feel worse than I did when I had the dreaded H1N1 in the fall. What’s with that?

New York City: Day 162

I have absolutely no appetite, my throat is killing me, I have the cough from hell, standing up and walking around is a challenge, my head is pounding, every inch of my body aches, I certainly can’t breathe through my nose, the chills are so miserable. And the fevers. Good Lord, the fevers. I don’t think I’ve ever had fevers like this in my life. My skin just burns to the touch. On the bright side, the fevers are breaking. On the not-so-bright side, I keep waking up in a cold room every few hours because my sheets are just soaked with sweat.

Maybe I’ve been a whiney little so-and-so enough for one entry. I’m just miserable. We’re a very sharing bunch at The New School for Drama. So far, the known group of the flu-ridden include myself, Siri, Jacob, Jessica, Ashley, Catherine, and Ari. I’ve just read that Iris and Bethany are also down for the count.

Demon flu-virus, I rebuke thee!

I spoke to both of my parents today, which actually made me feel a little bit better. I’m 22, but I’m not sure the illness-induced urge to curl up on the couch while Mom or Dad makes chicken noodle soup ever goes away. I miss my family all the time, but being bed-ridden and alone is making me especially homesick. In between fitful sleeps today, I’ve been thinking a lot about life before New York, life before undergrad in St. Louis, life before Georgia.

This is what I’d like to have back tonight, please:

All day, my mind has been immediately wandering to watching my twin sister drawing by the fireplace that we never used because we lived in Florida.

I’ve been thinking about the home video of us pretending to be Maria and Captain Von Trapp from The Sound of Music when, just as little me playing Maria starts walking down the stairs to her wedding, Lauren/The Captain started barking like a dog and just wouldn’t stop.

I’m thinking about being 8 or 9 and sitting in the back seat of my Aunt Tracy’s green Explorer while she cranked Melissa Etheridge  louder than I’d ever been allowed to listen to anything before, rolled the windows down, and just drove. I remember watching the wind in her hair and thinking she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

I remember the long walks my Dad, sister and I would take around Tampa Palms. We’d walk through all of the new developments as the homes were in various states of going up. I’m sure Dad just wanted to check out the floor plans, but he always said we were going on Treasure Hunts. Lauren and I always came home with a piece on construction site treasure or two.

I’m remember being so proud of my mom every time she got up to be a Eucharistic Minister at mass. I wanted to stand on my chair and announce to the congregation, “Hey! That’s my mother!”

I miss Saturday morning soccer games and staying up way too late to talk to my sister about nothing. I miss watching Kelly carry two little blonde babies up the aisle every weekend for the Blessing of the Children during mass.  I miss the elaborate tea parties we’d have in the basement of my Grandmother’s house, the sound of her voice has she called me her Precious Girl, the sound of my Grandfather’s laugh or discontent as he watched the Cardinal’s game. I miss having incredibly intricate adventures by myself in the woods behind Tracy and Kelly’s house. I miss being 12 and knowing that I was going to be the next great American novelist. I miss climbing the tree in front of Mike and Becky’s house and sitting up there for much too long with my books.

But most of all, today I’m missing curling up on the couch while Mom or Dad makes chicken noodle soup.

And the fever’s back. This is what’s in my head tonight:

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The Actor Plague is back with a vengeance.

New York City: Day 160

It’s mid-afternoon and I feel eighteen shades of miserable. I felt so fantastic this morning. I woke up at 6 AM after another night of not-enough sleep, but after a giant cup of coffee, I was in fantastic shape. I listened to some great music on my train ride to 14th Street. I was even really thrilled about all of the snow that I was coming down this morning as I made the walk to school.

Then, all physical hell broke loose midway through my third class. I swear, a truck must’ve driven through the middle of Vocal Production, hit me, backed over me a few times and left while I was busy doing my scales. My chest and back are aching with a fury. My throat is killing me. I feel like I’m about to pass out in the middle of the hallway at 151 Bank Street. And I am furious about this.

I won’t get sick. I won’t get sick. I won’t get sick.

I’m not alone. While I was eating lunch at Bus Stop with Jess, The Canadian, she was complaining of the same symptoms. Back at school, the halls are filled with First Year Actors all neurotically downing Theraflu and Zicam. Ari is sick. Iris is feeling it. So are Jessica and Daliyah. It’s the Actor Plague and I don’t want anything to do with it. Not with this performance piece going up tomorrow. Not with rehearsals starting so soon. Not as I’m beginning a semester with 27 credit-hours worth of work.

Dear Lord, let me make it through tomorrow. I have my own piece to perform. I’m doing a scene with Jeffrey tomorrow morning. I’m gumboot dancing with Andreas for his project. (Don’t ask.) After all of that, I have a full day of Chekhov and Character Mask. Alright. This song will be my mantra today.

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My apartment smells like maple syrup.

New York City: Day 158

I’m not complaining. It only serves to remind me that I forgot to mention that I was completely dominated in a pudding fight of epic proportions last week. It was magical.

My goodness, it feels good to be back at school. When I spoke Katie the Trooper on the phone about my dissatisfaction with this town in the winter months, she mentioned that perhaps it was because I wasn’t working. Because I’m stubborn, I told her she was wrong. She wasn’t. Being back at school, doing the work, being around people with a shared passion, getting ready for rehearsals to start– I feel like a new woman. My blues had nothing to do with January and everything to do with the fact that I’m an actress who wasn’t acting.

The first two days of my second semester of graduate school were not the total train wreck I’d imagined they would be. Yesterday’s Theatre History class was incredible, as always. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t be getting my PhD in Theatre History instead of toiling away on my MFA. We spent the class period talking about Büchner’s Woyzeck. Still unfinished when the playwright died, the play is written in quick, non-linear scenes. Jealousy, hallucinations, medical experiments, drum majors, peas– this one’s not to be missed. Werner Herzog’s 1979 film adaptation is also pretty fantastic. Check it out.

This morning, I was quite perturbed at the thought of a full day of Neutral American Speech, Vocal Production, Alexander, and Stanislavski. But here I sit at the end of the day, unscathed. Exhausted and a little worse for wear, but unscathed. It’s only day two and already projects are up and running, which means rehearsal time is about to rear it’s pretty little head. I start off the semester in Stanislavski working with Jessica on a piece called Final Placement. I’m also thrilled to report that Jacob, Ari, and I were cast in All My Sons for Alex’s directing project. I’m really excited to sink my teeth into some Arthur Miller.

And, of course, CoLab. Since we’ve yet to present our performance pieces, the one acts still haven’t been proposed and probably won’t be cast for another week. Those projects are going to be pretty mammoth. I’m getting more and more on edge about my piece as performance time gets closer. It’s one thing, as an actor, to stand on a stage and present someone else’s words. It’s entirely different beast when you’re performing something you’ve written. I’m already feeling exposed. Is this how the playwrights feel? All the time? Sick.

I have to stop second-guessing myself. The piece is written. It’s cast. It’s been rehearsed. Just leave it alone, Lindsey! I’ll probably write about the piece in detail once it’s done and over with since I’m toying with the idea of turning into a longer piece. For now, suffice to say that it’s me, Mr. Neruda, apples, a vintage slip and blue dress, a wooden chair, and envelopes. Lots of envelopes.

Honestly. Where did the break go? It seems like a lifetime ago that Chris and I were busy creating fire hazards while soaking envelopes in tea and then baking them in the convection oven. Time flies when you’re making performance art.

Speaking of envelopes, this makes me cry a little:

That sucker is taped to the door of my apartment right now. Here’s why: I’m a graduate student who lives in Graduate Student Housing. But, guess what! Graduate Student Housing really just means that I’m a woman in my twenties who lives in a dorm. With an RA. And hall meetings. And door decorations. I can laugh about it, but a few of my fellow graduate students fail to find the humor. Look: The Poet’s roommate is a married man who shares a bunk-bed with another grown man. …come on. That’s funny.

I’m suddenly reminded of our first floor meeting. My very sweet and eager RA, Jane, suggested that we throw a door-stop decorating social. “But,” and I quote, “since we’re not supposed to have door-stops, we have to call it a wooden triangle decorating social.” Yeah. A few moments later, a wide-eyed fashion design student from Parsons raised her hand and said, “So… is the social to make the door-stops… or… for… the door… stops…?” Uh-huh.

Anyway. It’s good to be back at the New School for Drama. So good.

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send us spring

January is a cruel month.

New York City: Day 156

Yes. The winter is certainly starting to take it’s toll. At least, I’m deciding to blame the season for my current mood. It’s cabin fever more than anything, really. I’ve spent the last three weeks in this city searching for some kind of work before school starts because I’m a poor graduate student. And, let me tell you, there is very little to do in the winter months in this city when you’re poor. Forget seeing shows. Forget a lot of the museums. Forget meeting friends for dinner or drinks. Everything costs money.

My financial woes didn’t bother me much when I first moved here. We’d all go to the park or just walk around the Village or go sit outside by the river. Yeah. You can’t do those things in January. I’m told that the summer is also laden with free concerts and festivals. There were always markets to explore in August, September, and October. Those things simply don’t exist in the bleak and cold months when they’re needed most.

I’m painting the picture much more dismally than it deserves to be painted. We’ve actually been to a lot of museums over the break and I feel very fortunate for that. A few days ago, we found our way to The Met. A little known fact: the “suggested” price for student admission at The Met is $10. However, if you’re a card-carrying academic-type, they’ll give you a ticket for whatever you feel like paying. I usually feel like giving a dollar. Am I cheap? Sure. But I’m also a poor graduate student who is quickly acquiring lots of debt only to find herself at the end of the academic process with a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting (…acting.) while living in one of the more cut-throat cities in the world. Hold on. I need to go vomit.

It’s just one of those days, I suppose. I’m missing sunshine. And Katie Consamus. And Danny Maly. And the ability to walk around this city without having to stare at the cement to keep the cold wind out of my face. Ah, well. Classes start again tomorrow and thank God for that. Tomorrow, all will be right with the world again. It’ll be back to German Romanticism in Theatre History and a new and healthy dose of Script Analysis afterwards. I’m certain I’ll feel better then.

In the meantime, there’s too much to be thankful for to let the fact that it’s always dark these days get me down.

I can’t stop thinking about something I saw last week. Since we were both a little stir-crazy, Chris and I decided to take a walk one night. We walked down to Battery Park City and wandered around the Irish Hunger Memorial. Then we walked to Rockefeller Park and watched the Hudson. In one of the public game areas there, we found a tree. It was marked “Ava’s Tree”. Children had drawn in chalk all around the tree and someone, very recently, had written, “Ava, we miss you. Send us spring.” I just stood at the tree and cried for a few minutes. I think often about the tree and Ava and the people who seem to love her so much. I hope she knew how special she was to the people who visit and decorate her tree. My mind wanders there a lot. It’s just heartbreaking and beautiful… We miss you. Send us spring.

For now, wishful thinking…

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bedbugs and ballyhoo

The Poet and I just spent more time than I’m willing to admit watching videos of giant spiders and sharks doing rather frightening things on Youtube.

New York City: Day 155

I’m already bracing myself for the nightmares that will inevitably follow. The jaunt into the world of scary animal videos all started a few days ago when I was telling Chris about a night terror I used to have as a child. I grew up in Florida. The Hillsborough River ran not too far from where we lived.

I was in love with the river when I was a little girl. Once, we took a class trip canoeing on the Hillsborough. I loved the herons and the fascinated by the gators, but I was terrified by the idea of a creature I’m told simply isn’t in the river: the pirahna.

I had a reoccurring dream on an almost nightly basis that often times woke me with a cold sweat. In the dream, I’m canoeing down the Hillsborough. In the dream, though, my Floridian river may as well have been the Amazon. It was everything a nightmare river should be: dark, terrifying, and crowded. I’m paddling along, minding my own business, when something knocks the bottom of my canoe. A split second later, a giant hole is bitten into the bottom of my poor boat and I can only see scores of giant pirahna teeth jumping into the hole where my canoe should’ve been. The canoe quickly sinks and, before I have a chance to swim to shore, these angry little fish are tearing away at my flesh. The next things I know, dream Lindsey is nothing more than a pile of bones at the bottom of the dream river.

Pleasant, eh?

Then, tonight, while sitting in the dark waiting for Youth in Revolt to start, we saw a preview for a film that, of course, looks like a cinematic gem: Piranha 3-D. And I wanted to cry. Anyway. Pirahnas got us to talking about spiders. Spiders got Chris talking about the wolf spiders that stalk the Little Miami River in Ohio. And wolf spiders led us to Youtube, which in turn led is to camel spiders killing mice and giant sharks that end up trapped in swamps in Massachusetts.

We both keep compulsively itching exposed parts of our bodies. I imagine this tick will remain for awhile.

More to come soon. Until then:

OH! Also, be sure to check out my new pages. If you’re a New Yorker, former New Yorker, or have ever been to New York… help a girl out. If you don’t fall into any of the above categories, by a plane ticket as soon as you possibly can.

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Lindsey Trout, New Yorker extraordinaire, presents another chapter in Adventures in Convection Oven Cooking.

New York City: Day 147

Have I mentioned that we don’t have ovens or stoves in our apartments at William Street? Because we don’t. Why? Because I sleep in the kitchen and there’s a New York law prohibiting the use of heated surfaces in a room in which someone sleeps. So, the kind folks at New School Residence Life provided us with convection ovens and induction cookers. We make do.

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from fellow first-year Alexandra and her husband Tyler inviting The Poet and I to a Pie Party. –Can I say for the record that I love my friends? Mariah hosted a Cookie Party last semester and the Caffal’s are gracious enough to host a Pie Party for the Bank Street kids tomorrow night. Is there anything better than good friends and good food? I submit that there is not.

With that in mind, I set out to bake a pie. Not just any pie, but a Winter Berry Pie. To be honest, I may have picked the recipe because I like the idea of a Winter Pie. Cranberries, dates, almonds, orange juice, lemon zest, golden raisins, cinnamon, and sugar. Lots or sugar.

The preparation process included lots of laughter, a healthy amount of Led Zeppelin, and a beer or two. Christopher took charge of the filling and managed the sauce pan on the induction cooker. The pie crust (which, I am slightly ashamed to admit is store-bought) is filled in doing what it does best in the convection oven. Time (25 minutes and 34 seconds to be precise) will tell of the experiment was a success.

Oh, my heart longs for the coming days in a tiny Brooklyn apartment (or wherever it may be) and its tiny (but present and functioning) kitchen.

Soon the pies will cool. And, if all goes well, a slice or two will be in my belly before I head to the East Village to meet up with Mariah and Dan. Fingers crossed.

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The Hall of Biodiversity is, hands down, my favorite place in this city.

New York City: Day 146

Christopher and I spent the majority of the day haunting the American Museum of Natural History. And I am in love. On the first floor, in the Hall of Biodiversity, there’s a 100-foot long installation called The Spectrum of Life. Along the wall are over 1,500 specimens that represent the diversity of life on earth. Plants, animals, fungi, microorganisms, bacteria: Awesome.

I think one of the reasons that I loved the installation so much is because of a painting I’ve fallen in love with. When I was a sophomore in high school, my mom brought home a poster from the Art at Marist event she’d attended. On the poster was a painting called “The Courage of Margaret Mead” by a fellow Marist graduate named Todd Murphy. These days, the painting hangs in an Atlanta restaurant. The poster of the painting hangs in my tiny New York apartment. The subject is a petite woman in a yellow dress with her back to the viewer. She stands facing a colossal wall of specimens, not unlike that in the Hall of Biodiversity. I love it. Margaret Mead, you and your anthropology were pretty cool.

We picked a perfect day to explore the Museum of Natural History. Aside from a few rowdy school groups, we practically had the place to ourselves. Of course, we didn’t get to everything, but we became well acquainted with Akeley Hall of African Mammals, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, Birds of the World, Reptiles and Amphibians, and the many dinosaurs that live on the fourth floor.

The dinosaurs were amazing. And apparently so was a man named Barnum Brown. He was a native of Kansas, was named after P.T Barnum of Barnum & Bailey, and oh yeah– he also discovered the first documented remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. One of the best stories we stumbled upon about old Barnum Brown was when some cowboys discovered dinosaur remains at the turn of the century. Mr. Brown bought the remains for the museum from the cowboys for $250 and some six-shooters.

The Hall of Ocean Life introduced me to a beautiful Blue Whale and a beautiful world: bioluminescence. Light created by a living thing. 90% of deep-sea creatures do this in one way or another. I’m pretty sure I know a handful of people who do this, too.

I’ve got to say, I was really tickled by North American Forests. It’s a really interesting look at the ecology of our forests, but the charm of the place was sometimes more interesting than the exhibit itself. It was very clearly made in the 1950’s. The wood panelling and the dust accumulating in the tiny dioramas are a dead giveaway. And, while I also loved the giant sequoia, I also loved watching the relationships between the museums employees in that gallery. In passing, one asked the other if she was going to the party that night. “It’s going to be totally awesome!”

On that note, I have a museum party to crash.

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Look Ma, no pants!

I saw entirely too many people in their underthings today.

New York City: Day  142

All seemed fairly normal as I walked down Maiden Lane to the 4/5. Even riding the 4 to 14th Street was relatively uneventful. Then, as I was getting off the train and heading to Union Square, I noticed that the girl in front of me had alarmingly bare legs and was sporting only her coat, her boots, and a pair of striped purple underwear. I was about to turn to Chris and make some snide remark when I realized there were whole hoards of people without their pants.

Even out on the street, people young and old were all walking around in the New York City cold donning only their skivvies. It didn’t take long for me to remember that today was Improv Everywhere’s annual No Pants Subway Ride. Thank you, Improv Everywhere. But if there’s going to be flash imrov, keep your pants on and give me this:

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I may have missed my calling in life. Should I have been a Bear Management Girl?

New York City: Day 142

Last night found The Poet and I roaming the streets of Gramercy trying to find a bar. We had plans to meet up with an old friend of mine named Colin who is now working for a New York ad agency and who was, Once Upon a Time, my prom date.

Hello, five years ago.

Colin was bringing some of his friends along, so I thought it might be beneficial to find a quiet-ish bar so that we could all get to know each other properly. With that in mind, Christopher and I set out for Black Bear Lodge. We’d been there a few nights before and the atmosphere was remarkably relaxed. There was a nice fire going in the back room, that’s how relaxed it was. That was not that case last night. Saturday night in Gramercy might as well have been Saturday night at Humphrey’s in St. Louis. So out we went, in search of the night’s perfect bar.

On the bright side, our hunt for the right place led us into a fantastic little joint that I fully intend to revisit. On 3rd, there’s a small restaurant and pub called Molly’s Shebeen (a shebeen is an illegal drinking establishment). Complete with a log-burning fireplace and sawdust on the floor, it’s considered the most authentic Irish pub in New York City. Though Molly’s didn’t move in until the 1960’s, the space has served as a bar since 1895, minus a short stint as a grocery store during Prohibition. It was dark and inviting. Mysterious and cozy. How it managed to be those things, I’m not sure, but I was certainly a fan. There was a long wait for a table and no room to speak of a the bar, so we didn’t stay, but I’m more than a little eager to go back.

We did, however, end up at a bar on 2nd called McSwiggan’s. Christopher and I were joined by Colin and his college roommate, Brent. Turns out that Brent is (get this!) a Ranger for the National Park Services. He’s currently working on Governor’s Island, but just finished a six month stint at Yellowstone. We spent an enjoyable part of the evening listening to bear stories or about the time he came across a Grizzly and the Bear Management Girl (who knew such a title existed?!) had to hit it in the side with a bean bag before shooting a firecracker shot into the air to scare the big guy away. Then there were tales of the tourists who would ask if they could visit the site where the animals were trained before they were released into the park. Or the proud fathers who tried to pose their children on top of buffalo for a photo shoot. Or the poor woman who was tossed 20 feet into the air by a bison while she was talking on a pay phone. I tell ya, Park Rangers seem to living exiting lives.

This lazy Sunday finds me cozy and warm at William Street, my belly very full of Nutella-covered pancakes courtesy of my Poet friend.  But my mind keeps wandering back to the Bear Management Girl, her bean bags, and her firecrackers. I hope she’s somewhere warm and eating pancakes today, too.

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