lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

Crazy Cat Lady: Grecian Edition July 3, 2018

I love cats.

One of the things I miss most in my crazy traveling actor life is having a cat of my own.

Top thing I didn’t know I was going to love about Greece?

The cats!

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So many wonderful cats!

Cats living in monastaries! (more…)

 

The Terror of the Seas March 16, 2018

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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About manatees.

No really, I have a story about sea cows.

Following the yellow brick road led me back to sunny Florida. I love Florida. It’s one of my favorite states. There are beaches and Disney, and with my Pluto obsession, it’s a really great place for me.

I’ve performed down in Florida often enough that I’ve forced my mother to visit me several times. I always try to have some kind of adventure with her when she comes to visit and once I decided that we should go swim with the manatees.

I’ll set the scene for you. My husband, sister, mother, and I don our wetsuits to commune with the gentle sea cows. It was a chilly winter morning. The canal wasn’t too crowded. There were a few manatees munching on sea grass.

The company that we went with is one of the few grandfathered in to allow interaction with the manatees, so getting to swim with them is a really special experience. You get to rub their bellies, which they really love. It should have been a beautiful memory to cherish for years to come. (more…)

 

Old and Jaded at the Aquarium January 19, 2018

You know how when you’re little you think everything is big and bright and shiny, and then you go back as an adult and realize everything is tiny and the paint is chipping?

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When I was little, my great-grandmother lived near Boston. Every once in a blue moon, my mom would take us into Boston to play tourist for the day. My favorite place was the New England Aquarium. I thought it was magical! The cylinder tank in the middle was huge. The penguins were the funniest thing I had ever seen. That aquarium was the height of commercialized zoological conservation.

Then I went back last week, and here’s where my brain starts to hurt. (more…)

 

The Sneaky Sheep October 7, 2017

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Our road trip through the Irish countryside is definitely one of the most beautiful I have ever taken. The wide valleys, the rocky mountains… the sheep.

Most of the sheep are in giant pastures with color-coded butt swatches. And the butt rainbow makes sense. Granted, I am not a sheep expert, but it seems to me that it would get really hard to tell one fluffy sheep from another. So farmers tag their sheep with their gang colors.

Well, one farmer with pink-butt sheep was having a very bad day. (more…)

 

A Slithery Situation January 18, 2017

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 8:00 pm
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Once upon a time we found a rat outside our theatre. It was a harrowing and tragic tale, and we thought that our wildlife encounters were over. But alas, they were not.

The next day, we were on a break. I was sitting in the theatre, hanging out when one of the girls came in to tell the stage manager that there was a little snake that may have gotten into the lobby. Naturally, we all ran to see it.

Sure enough, there was a little black and yellow snake curled up right inside the door. The little bugger had crept through the crack and wanted to make himself at home. The Stage Manager sighed and got ready to get the snake. Unfortunately, none of us were knew if Mr. Snakey Pants was venomous or not.

Note from the Blogger’s husband: This is one of my biggest pet peeves. So many people use so many words interchangeably that are not synonymous. Further and farther, for instance (which have been used incorrectly so many times that they are now accepted as being synonyms). To be clear, something is venomous if it is capable of injecting the poison/venom into you. Something that is poisonous must be either ingested or touched. In short, venomous fangs vs. poisonous skin. That is all.

Since we were between shows, there were some boxes piled right up by the door. Of course that was where the snake darted toward. And not knowing if he was a murdery dude, we couldn’t reach in to get him. The Stage Manager found a broom handle while I grabbed some sheets of Styrofoam and made a snake wall. (more…)

 

A Rocky Rat January 11, 2017

Filed under: Animal Antics — meganorussell @ 6:00 pm
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For the past week, I’ve been working out on an island in southwest Florida. It’s gorgeous, it’s amazing, it has a ton of animals. The island is filled with swampy-type critters and sanctuaries for said critters. And we’ve met a few new… friends.

Our lovely director has a kind heart, and when she was coming into the theatre, she found a tiny critter in destress. Naturally, we had to help this rat. Yep: rat. It was a cute rat, mind you. Walking shakily in circles, not really noticing all of us creeping closer to it. The poor little dude was eating a rock. A rat eating a rock. Naturally, we named him Rocky.

Our young, but incredibly apt, Stage Manager called the island’s animal rescue folks, and they said to load poor Rocky into a box and drive him over.

I wish I could say I was one of the ones putting the disoriented rat into the box, but really I just ran and found a box. (more…)

 

The Power of OZ May 23, 2016

The Wizard of Oz has been a strangely important part of my theatrical career. I know, there’s a yellow brick road; it’s not exactly Shakespeare, but still. The Wizard of Oz was the very first show that I was ever in. I was the tiniest munchkin in OZ. At the ripe old age of four-and-a-half, I was still mature enough to be the head munchkin behind my plywood bush. It was my job to make sure the other munchkins popped their little heads up when Glinda sang. That show affirmed that I really did want to be a professional performer. A career goal that never once wavered.

The second time I did the show, I was the tallest munchkin in OZ. Yep, I was twenty-five, and I spent my time skipping in a circle. I was grateful for the job, believe me! But it wasn’t enough to hold my full attention. So, I began writing in earnest, working on a story of a boy waiting in a window that would eventually become The Tethering.

This summer I am returning to OZ, this time as the Wicked Witch of the West! I am super excited to scare small children into peeing their pants. But there are a few things I’m worried about. (more…)