Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt

I am doing it. The ultimate sacrifice. In the name of a lighter load, I am purging my t-shirt collection. Now, to be fair, I believe I have done this a few times before, as many of my t-shirts seem to have disappeared, but it is never easy.

Have you ever thought about the story of your life as it is told through fashion? Well, obviously we all go through trends and stages of fashion in our life. But, since I avoid the camera and haven’t really kept up with fashion trends (or really shopped for myself) for a long time, I can’t share that story here. I can, however, share part of my story as it is told through t-shirts. So join me through a trip down memory lane.

Perhaps the oldest t-shirt in my collection is this beauty from Fitzwilly’s in Northampton, MA, one of my favorite restaurants from my undergraduate college days at Smith.

Bought at Fitzwilly's ca. 1990

If I Tell You What It Means Will You Buy Me A Drink (Back of Fitzwilly's t-shirt)

Next we skip a few years (I don’t know what happened to t-shirts from Japan) and head to Hawaii, for adventures galore.

I got this at Sea Life Park in Hawaii the week after I graduated with my MFA from the University of Hawaii. For complicated reasons this t-shirt meant more than my diploma at the time.

I love this t-shirt given to me when my dear friend Nancy visited me in Hawaii from Japan. I hope she visits me in Mass., or better yet, I get to visit her in Japan someday.

We bought this on Maui, when Nathan finally admitted that he didn't really want to see anyone else. (For more on that story see the post called "Stumbling into Romance"

From Hawaii, we skip another few years to my doctoral program. Nathan and I got married in Hawaii, while I was in the middle of a doctoral program at Arizona State University. 7 months later, he moved to Vermont for work and I stayed in Arizona to finish up my dissertation.  I did research at three different professional companies for Young Audiences: Childsplay in Tempe, AZ; Dallas Children’s Theater; and my favorite Metro Theatre Company in St. Louis, MO (a company I learned about during the year before I started at ASU when we lived nearby.

I think we bought this t-shirt when we were in Hawaii to get married. It is dyed with chocolate (Yum) and smelled like chocolate for a while.

I spent a wonderful week or so at Metro, observing, interviewing and helping during their summer education program called Arts Intersection.

Move forward again, to our time in Vermont. We both taught. I directed, and I started a children’s theater company which didn’t survive much past my time there, as we had to move on.

Short lived, but well loved.

"Life is Good" when you live near enough to the Ben & Jerry factory for a tour.

For some reason I don’t have any t-shirts from the next stop on our living tour, Durango, CO. I guess I never bought any or didn’t keep them. I do have one from the first summer as a family at Okoboji Summer Theater, which happened while we lived in Durango.

And that brings us to the present. A t-shirt filled year in Independence, KS

I wonder what my next t-shirt will be. What is the t-shirt story of your life?

The Journey in Etheree

As we drove from Iowa to Kansas yesterday, and I thought about the journey I am on, I decided to sketch.That then led to writing a poem. Please forgive the big error on this, I was doing it in the car after all.

For the poem, I attempted another etheree, as I thought it would create the image of words moving into the distance down the road. It reads as follows:

Now
Begins
The Journey
Moving onward
into the unknown.
In the distance, a choice
as yet unseen, a tunnel
a fork in the road to somewhere
beyond the knowledge and the dreams and plans
of the woman who moves forward bravely.

____________________

Today’s Quote: 

“It is better to travel well than to arrive. ” Buddha 

On the Road Again . . . Into the Unknown

I’ve always had the secret fantasy of becoming a singer in a band, sharing music with the masses as I travel from town to town. I have the hidden urge to be a song writer, but that would require me to become much more fluent in the language of music then I currently am. Of course, I can read it a little better now, since I decided to start studying piano last year, but I lost the fluency of my youth.

But this post isn’t about music, or about my secret dreams. It is about journeys and our path through life.  I would have to argue that “journey of life” is one of my guiding metaphors, but I’ve forgotten that recently. In my desire to “find home” or find a place to belong, I’ve forgotten the motto I adopted earlier this year in a post called “The Journey” .  [Some days I AMAZE myself with my creativity and originality 😛 ]

We are about to embark on the next journey.  Literally and figuratively. If I can ever get my family moving, we will begin the 8 hour drive back to Independence, KS. Then we begin the job of packing our little house up to begin the journey to the next phase of our lives in Massachusetts. We still don’t know for sure where we will live once we get there (but I have found a rental I hope). I still have no idea what work will come my way once we get there (except for a definite class in the spring).

We say farewell to our summer home, which is always bittersweet. Okoboji Summer Theater is a unique and magical microcosm, that is almost a fantasy. We are surrounded by people who love creating good theater. We live and breathe quality work. We do not need to worry about food, or shopping, or any of the basic chores of survival (beyond laundry and cleaning up) and we can walk out the door and be at our work. In many ways, this is heaven.

For me, this summer has been complex, to say the least, but overall rewarding. My family hopes to return next summer, and I do to.  I only hope that, in that return, I can feel more confident in my own purpose here and contribute a little more. I have already applied to teach for the ArtsLIVE camp that I helped out at this summer, and if that comes through I’ll feel more confident about the whole thing.

But again, this is not about our summer, it is about life’s journeys.

Today our journey continues. I wonder where it leads?

The Miles We Travel in Search of Ourselves

A Long Road Home

Image via Wikipedia

When you drive alone in a car for 8 1/2 hours it gives you a lot of time to think.

Of course, you can distract yourself by listening to the stories of other people or music. But that distraction only works if your mind isn’t constantly connecting what you hear with what you think or believe.

I learned that as tears poured down my face while listening to “The Tornado Prom” story on This American Life.

I learned that laughing my way through Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and thinking, I would love to be a reporter on NPR.

I learned that listening to the podcast about Pop Culture from NPR (I’m not sure what it’s called, but it is connected with Monkey See. The discussion of books led me to think, “Oh, I should read that” but even more “How do I get paid to review books.”

When I lost the ability to listen to the podcast, and went to music, every song had a message for me . . . about life, about love, about following your dreams.

And the miles passed.

I thought about the millions of miles that I have traveled throughout my life. Sometimes the miles led to adventures, sometimes the miles led to comfort, but rarely have the miles led to home. I mean, I am technically “home” now, but I haven’t found the home that makes me stop wanting to following those miles.

Will I ever?

I’ve found temporary sanctuaries, but not permanent homes.

I was talking to the cook at the Summer Theater where I left Nathan and she asked “Where are you now?” I answered, with my usual “Kansas face”; the face that says I’m here for now, but hopefully not forever. She answered, “Oh, I thought you would be wandering gypsies” and then told me about this family she met in Florida that were travelling the country just to see if they could.

Part of me thought, how cool is that.

My journey is long–both the metaphorical one and the physical one. I wonder if and when I will ever come to rest.

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