lifebeyondexaggeration

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stranger

And Christmas Begins November 16, 2018

It’s Christmas!

At least it is for me. I’ve spent the last week in rehearsals for Elf the Musical, and we’ll be opening the show on Thanksgiving. I’m used to elongated Christmas seasons. Growing up, Christmas season at my mother’s inn started on November 1st. The house was decorated for tea programs, and then we just ran along in a blur of Christmas until December 25th.

There’s some good and bad to starting Christmas so early. You get to be surrounded by festivities, but you want to strangle the next person who sings Deck the Halls. You don’t have to worry about the season slipping by without notice, but you’re too busy working to visit all the cool holiday displays.

This year is stranger than most for me. Last year, since I was living on a tour bus, I didn’t get to devote as much time to Christmas as I’m used to. So I want to go all out Christmas Cheer this year. But I’m in Florida. It’s hot. There will be no snow. And everyone with common sense knows you should not wrap palm trees in Christmas lights. (more…)

 

A Tacky Turkey November 25, 2015

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 1:46 pm
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When I was super little, my mother was still quasi-determined that we spend time with our extended family. And Thanksgiving is a time for family.

We would drive over to my grandfather and step-grandmother’s house. My step-grandmother was not the maternal type or a good cook. One year, she tried to microwave the turkey. Yep, you read that right: microwave the turkey. I ate only olives that Thanksgiving. It was a sad, sad day in my little life.

The last year we attended Thanksgiving, I was sick. So sick that I was allowed to sleep on the couch instead of being forced to spend time with my cousins.

My nap was eventually ruined by the police pounding on the front door. My cousins had gotten bored and decided to break into my grandfather’s garage to see why the garage was locked. Of course they set off the fancy alarms and the cops showed up five minutes later. There was lots of yelling. My grandfather was furious. But on the upside, my mother decided that we didn’t need to attend the family meals anymore. We started eating Thanksgiving dinner at home. My mother never once tried to nuke the turkey.

 

Keeping An Eye Out For Your Friends November 24, 2014

I have a friend who has eye issues. Her eyes work just fine, thank God, because the mention of eyes makes her gag. Put in your contacts in front of her, and she’ll be dry heaving in the corner in thirty seconds flat. Since there is no way she is ever going to touch her own eye, she has a select group of eye buddies so that if she gets something stuck in there, a friend can keep her calm as they dig out the offending particle.

I was her eye buddy when we did Miracle on 34th Street, an awful musical my Meredith Wilson that includes a hateful Thanksgiving parade sequence. As a part of the parade, my eyeball-fearing friend had to be a cartwheeling clown. (more…)

 

Grandmom’s Cooking November 22, 2014

Filed under: Starting Off Strange — meganorussell @ 10:00 am
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I never liked my step-grandmother. And she never liked me, so at least we had a healthy understanding of our mutual dislike. She was never maternal to anyone in my family. There was never a warm sweater, good meal, or any idea that she would ever be the matriarch once my great-grandmother passed away. I feel like my entire relationship with her can be summed up with the story of one fateful Thanksgiving. (more…)

 

The Beginning of the Bells November 17, 2014

Christmas is here! I know, I know. You’re probable all like, “It can’t be Christmas yet. We still have to do Thanksgiving. Give the turkey a chance before your move on to the fat red man and Jesus.”

But I want to start both now. I won’t get to do Thanksgiving this year. I have two shows that day. I also have two shows on Christmas. We didn’t get to really do Christmas last year since we had to drive from Pennsylvania on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December to get to rehearsals in Arizona by the 27th. (more…)

 

Gobble Gobble Greed November 15, 2014

Here’s the thing. Don’t you love it when I start a post like that? It means I know some of you might get angry. I don’t like Black Friday shopping. And I don’t like Thanksgiving shopping. I’m not a big fan of crowds, or being cold, or getting pushed and yelled at by angry people.

Personally, I don’t really think it’s worth saving the little bit of money I would on buying the small presents I want, so I generally avoid the whole mess. I would have to have my husband post to you all, “Sorry. Megan was trampled to death while trying to save a few dollars buying How to Train Your Dragon 2.” (more…)

 

The Bus to Bentleyville November 30, 2013

As an actor, you miss a lot of holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Passover, whatever you celebrate, you don’t always get to be with family. You miss birthdays, weddings, and funerals. It’s hard on you and on your muggle(non-actor) family. But sometimes the stars align and wonderful things find you on the road. The world gives you your own special Christmas miracle to prove that Christmas can happen anywhere. Even on a bus.

Last year, my husband and I spent a long time living on a bus working with the Fiddler on the Roof National Tour. (more…)