lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

A Fear of Bones December 7, 2018

Right now I’m reading The Hero of Ages book three in the Mistborn series. They’ve been talking a lot about animal bones, and it’s creeping me out.

See, my mother was an archeologist, and when I was little, she still collected animal bones. Like a lot of them. I sort of knew she had bones somewhere in the house, but it wasn’t a thing we ever really talked about. She just picked up bones when she found them, and they disappeared.

In hindsight, I probably should have asked where the bones were going, but I was little and still having trouble with the concept of ownership and permanence.

One day, my mom told me to go to the attic and get something. Our house had a huge attic, like bigger than most apartments in Manhattan. The door to the attic was one of three on the wall of one room. Me, being a little kid, didn’t know which door went to the attic, so I just decided to try opening one.

I chose poorly. (more…)

 

Life Lessons in the Small Print October 26, 2018

There are certain things people don’t remember to teach you. Like don’t put the lash glue on your eye, put it on the lashes. Turkeys and chickens are not the same. Don’t give birds soda.

All kinds of little life lessons we have to stumble through as a right of passage on our path to true competency.

One lesson I had to learn the hard way was about sunscreen.

I was probably fourteen, so still a respectable age to be this dumb, and I was going to the ocean on a summer camp trip. The plan was to spend the whole day on the beach, including a picnic lunch. We had been woken up at some ungodly hour to be put on a bus and had all fallen right back to sleep. The counselors woke us back up when we were about five minutes from the ocean and told us to put on our sun screen now, then take only our beach towels off the bus since they were taking care of water and lunch.

I was young and dumb and followed their instructions. I slathered on my sun screen, left everything but my towel behind, and as soon as the bus stopped I ran right for the ocean. I kicked my shoes off and dove right on in.

Sounds like an idyllic scene from a movie, right? (more…)

 

I Don’t Have Any Jello October 5, 2018

When I was in second grade, my elementary school decided to try an “Adopt a Grandparent” program. Basically, once every few weeks we’d go to the retirement home and hang out with our assigned resident.

It wasn’t so bad. I had a nice old lady, we’ll call her Mabel, who liked to play board games and fed me Jello. I missed a lot of school that year because I had chronic strep, and I ended up skipping one of the grandparent days. The time came for our next trip to the old folks’ home, and I was pretty psyched to see Mabel after so long. Mostly, I wanted to not be in school and eat Jello, but whatever.

My class arrived at the nursing home, and the adopted grandparents all came to collect the kids, and no one came for me. (more…)

 

Deafening Distraction August 3, 2018

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I’m a pretty epic multitasker. I think it comes from my elementary school days. According to my mother, that school district would take every new educational concept that had been rejected in California and use it on my school.

One of those grand ideas was an open floor plan for the school. We had rib-high walls separating the classrooms. Yep. Hundreds of small children. No real walls.

I learned to read while hearing the teacher next door teach math. I learned about science while kids fifteen feet from me sang songs about history. There was never ever quiet.

Silent reading time only meant our class wasn’t allowed to talk. The classrooms on either side of us were still going full tilt. (more…)

 

Malicious Medicine April 3, 2018

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 11:30 am
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I have this strange mistrust of doctors. It’s not that I think they’re trying to wipe us all out by spreading some horrible plague. I just recognize that, like the rest of us, not all of them are good at their jobs.

It all started when I was super young. I had this tiny little plantar wart in my toe. It really wasn’t a huge deal, but you’ve got to get those things taken care of, so my mother dragged me to the pediatrician. I was promised by the nurse, the doctor, my own mother even, that it would be a quick and practically painless thing. I’d feel a little stick, my toe would go numb, and then it would be done and I could eat tons of ice cream.

I don’t know why, but for some reason my mother wasn’t in the room with me when they were numbing my toe. Maybe she was scared she’d faint… I have no clue.

Anyway, I’m lying stomach-first on this table. The doctor has the needle and is going to inject my big toe. The nurse is flirting with the doctor. I feel the needle go into my toe, but it doesn’t stop. The doctor is chatting with the nurse and just keeps pushing the needle farther in!

Naturally, I do what any child would do, and kick the doctor right in the crotch. (more…)

 

The Pregnant Nun January 5, 2017

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 3:30 pm
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I’m weird. If you’ve been to this blog before, I’m sure you’ve realized that. But there’s nothing like spending time with family to remind you just how terribly weird you are.

I got to spend Christmas with my mom and sister this year, which is a rare treat for a performer. My husband was there; my sister’s husband and his parents were there. We were all chatting, and at one point my mom said something like, “Well, I knew you were going to be weird when I made the nun your mother.”

Outside of my family, you would think that was the ravings of a mad woman, but no no, it’s true.

I grew up in an inn, and some of the many things that happened between those brown brick walls were murder mysteries. You’d arrange the group, my mother would mail everyone a character, you’d come to the house, and we’d slowly kill you all off. It was usually a good, family-friendly time.

When I was about four (so my sister was around six), a group was coming in, and the woman who should have turned out to be the killer according to my mother’s grand plan for the evening didn’t show. (more…)

 

The Traumatizing Tongue September 17, 2016

Filed under: Hi-Ho the Glamorous Life,Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 12:30 pm
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The very first internship I ever did with a professional company was when I was about sixteen years old. The company was tiny, and I don’t think they really had an intern program. I don’t even think they were really sure why I kept showing up three days a week. But my mom kept telling me to get into the car and the theatre kept letting me in so whatever.

The company did a lot of really cool Shakespeare and avant-garde work, but I was there for the children’s show Frog and Toad. And not even the super fun musical version. It was just people saying they were animals, and there was dark lighting. I really don’t know what was happening.

I was cast as a ferret in a fedora, and I had two lines that were meant to be sinister, but they really weren’t. Honestly, I would love to get my hands on that script to see if it would make more sense through my much more experienced eyes.

The only thing I really, clearly remember is the tongue. (more…)