10 things I learned about myself in the Mid-West.

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1.  I’m extremely practical when I want to be.

As we step up to the Rental Car counter at the airport in Minneapolis, the husband says, “So, what are we getting?  A sports car?”

I smirk.  there’s almost an edge to his voice, as though he believes this could actually be a possibility.

“Nope. Something economical,” I say.

the kindly gentleman at the desk asks us, “Would you like a GP-”

“No, thanks. We have one.”

“Would you like insurance on the-”

“No, we are covered.”

“For just a small amount you can be covered,”

“No, thanks, we are covered.  Already.”

“So you don’t want the insurance?”

“We’re all set.”

“If you pay for your gas now -”

“Nah, that’s okay.”

“OK. Step right this  way. Follow me.”

Hubby scowls.  “We’re not gonna have ANY thing in the car.”

“Nope,” I say.

As we walk out to the myriad selection of cards, a silver mustang speeds by. Hubby glares at me.

“SO, will a Ford Focus work for you?”

Unintelligible mumbles come from the direction of my dear husband.

“Sure!” I say.

Kindly gentleman hands us the keys and I sign on the dotted..well…the ipad.  (Weird, right? technology!)

As we drive away, I am vaguely, aware that for the next 4-8 hours, all I will hear about is my terrible, no fair, no fun, selection of vehicle.

See Mom and Dad?

Practical.

2.  I am obsessed with NPR.

OK, so I sort of knew this one already.  But I can’t tell you how excited I would be throughout our drive from Minneapolis to Fargo, when I found the NPR station.  It was also the first time hubby listened to “Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me!”

3. I hate. Fast Food.

Poor husband.  He tried so hard.  You see, we found ourselves in a big box town, after driving for God knows how long.  We were in need of something to hold us over before dinner.  there were many meat-centric fast food places.  We did manage to find a health food store, but there was nothing ready-to-eat available.

We saw something called taco john’s.  I figured, because a) I was desperate, and b) I had never heard of it before, it would be “ok.”

We walked inside and I immediately saw the one vegetarian item on the menu.  they were called mini oles or something..but in reality they were tater tots.  So I ordered those. with a side of guac.  Next I ordered a “salad,” with no meat, cheese or sour cream.  I should have taken a picture of it.

Out came a large taco shell with shredded, brownish-maybe-green iceburg lettuce, some black olives, and salsa.  that was it.  While the husband began the attack on the three for one taco special, I scowled.  I made snobby, Downton Abbey inspired gestures, rolled my eyes and raved on and on about how I would never eat “fast food” again. And what was I thinking?  And what’s wrong with America?  Why are we killing ourselves with pickled products and fake vegetables and meat byproduct?  Hubby just continued eating quietly as I bitched about the salt lick tasting tater hockey puck things.  I dumped the salad.  We drove away, never to speak of john, nor his sad excuse for tacos for the remainder of the trip.

4.  I love my college friends.

time goes on, we all lose touch, but man, when we get back together…we know how to party!  In a we’ve-already-done-the-college-thing type of way, but it’s still a lot of fun.  Seeing old friends is like finding that designer dress that somehow got stuck in the back of your closet.  You dust it off, try it on, and you can’t believe how good you look in it.  And you’re like Ohhh yeah. that’s why I bought it!  Except with friends I mean it in a more non-material, less superficial kind of way.  And hubby loved my friends too, which made it even better.

5.  I don’t like mid-western hipsters that much….

that is all.

6.  I rock at Karaoke.

I may not be Mary Poppins on broadway, but I know how to work a crowd with my keen sense of actor…ability.  As Ms. Jean used to say in college, “Just act your way through it!”

7.  I enjoy “Friends” 100x more now that I am older.

When we crashed in Minneapolis, we just sat on the hotel bed and watched “Friends.” And I laughed. A lot.  Not many sitcoms make me laugh anymore. Oh, the 90s.

8.  I really like the whole, “Ladies first.”

OK on the East Coast, I NEVER EVER heard, “Ladies first.”  And I probably liked it that way, and I probably still like it that way.  Perhaps something about the short “o” and the slight lilt in the voice..but every time someone out there took my order, it was ALWAYS, “ladies first!” with a smile.  Damn straight!

9.  I like oxygen bars.

Yeah, I tried one for the first time.  Out there.  Randomly.  And it was super relaxing. Now, it could have just been the full body massage chair I was sitting on for twenty minutes, but I would tell you..Yeah, give it a shot.

10.  I like road trips with my hubby best.

He drives the entire time.  He puts up with my complaints of fast food dining.  He lets me go to every Starbucks I encounter.  He lets me stop at strange pawn shops and consignment stores (I scored a pair of overalls. Who even sells those anymore?!)   I get to pick where we eat.  He makes me laugh. He’s calm.

And yeah, I guess he’s just pretty good company overall.

10 is a good number.  We’ll leave it at that.

Oh and there’s this:

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A highlight reel, if you will. I’m an actor, so that’s a pun.

I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about this afternoon.

So this is going to be more of a HIGHLIGHT REEL of the past week…things that really “stuck out” for me.

  • People at CPTV trust me enough to let me train someone new.  Great new temp, really funny, a musician, wears bright orange on the same days as me: WIN.  Me having him log into the database all by himself and apparently breaking some sort of security rule: FAIL.
  • Pick up rehearsals are hilarious when actors don’t show up…I’m acting to an inanimate ghost-like space! I’m acting… acting like a MIME would if she could talk!
  • Not having a performance this past Friday night made me feel like I was getting away with something…like snagging a chocolate chip cookie from the cooling rack. (You know, at home. I don’t go around stealing cookies at local bakeries).
  • Saturday night I had to pretend to hug an actress onstage extra hard so I could reach around her back under her shirt and switch on her mike. Nobody noticed: WIN!
  • This last show, closing on a matinee, sort of made me hate matinees less. SORT of. By some kind of fluke, there was lots of energy and a great, attentive audience.  Don’t get any crazy ideas, future matinees in life.  I’m watching you.
  • I answered a phone call yesterday re: a WNPR broadcast that clearly upset a woman.  She LITERALLY SAID, “Let me tell YOU what I WISH UPON ALL OF YOU THERE, young lady. (intake of deep breath) I hope you all get sick when you’re old and no one is around to take care of you.”
  • During our second talk-back for Deana’s Educational Theatre today, fellow actor Tim Hoover asked the audience of second graders, “What was the character afraid to be called at school?”  The correct answer would be “Tattle Tale,” but one little girl answered with, “Easter Bunny.”

I am delirious on very little sleep, but I made sure to take a huge swig of Starbucks House Blend, so we’ll see how this works out.

P.S.  I love the Berkshires!  I miss my Berkshire Theatre Festival crew. 🙂

Below is a random photo from the CPTV vault.

Allegra Itsoga, myself, and Jennifer Pratt, getting our zen / swordage on at CPTV.

Be well, friends.  Have a highlight-filled week.

The story of Kiki, Michael Bolton, and my converse.

I currently temp at Connecticut Public Broadcasting.  This is the parent company of CPTV and WNPR.  So it’s PBS television station and an NPR affiliate station.

I work in Member Services.  Most of my job entails me answering the phones.  Here’s what I say:

“Connecticut Public Broadcasting.  This is Casey speaking. How may I help you?”

Pretty basic, am I right?

I would also like to point out that I am a professional actor. I was classically trained to act and well…to SPEAK properly.  You know, enunciate words with finesse. That kind of thing. 

For some reason, though,  this is the response I get, on average 5-8 times a week.

“Stacey?”

“Oh well hello Tracey”

“Good morning, Kiki,I really need your help.”

“All right, Kelly. Thanks for your help.”

“Katie, this is Mr. So and So and I’m angry about such and such.”

I mean it’s actually gotten to the point where I turned to my friend Jennifer and said, “I’m sorry…but do I not pronounce ‘Casey’ correctly?” And she assured me that no, I say my name just fine.  Phew!  I have been saying my name correctly all these years.

I used to correct people, but then it became a battle of “Casey.” “Tracey?” “Casey.” “Stacey?” sigh.

Now I just let people think whatever they want.  Or, I should say, HEAR whatever they want.

Then it all came full circle for me when I realized that people don’t like the name “casey” for a woman.  It sounds funny!

Two days ago on the phone, this older woman said, “Casey?  In my youth, Casey was only a boy’s name. How peculiar.”  And I explained how well gee, my mom must have been so progressive.

That just happens often enough, that I felt the need to share.

I also feel the need to share that random people are usually in the studio or in the building. I mean, obviously.  It’s a radio and television station.  But on Wednesday someone said, “Oh, Michael Bolton is in the other room.” And that’s when it struck me how random the days can turn out to be at CPTV.

myself, Michael Bolton, and Allegra Itsoga after Mr. Bolton's concert. Hey, it was our job to go.

My friend, Allegra and I, had to work one of his concerts last year for CPTV.  We didn’t say much, but he was very friendly.  Fun fact:  Michael Bolton and I were both wearing converse. 

And that reminds me…Actor’s Green Room was holding a contest for most creative Valentine’s Day poem, and I was one of the winners!  Because um yeah, I rhymed about my converse.

There you have it.  Bet you didn’t think I could tie all three of those subjects together, but I did.

Happy Friday, kids.