Lost in Yonkers

I’ve always heard that with actors there is “no small role”. I never quite understood that saying til now. Earlier this year I was cast as Aunt Gert in “Lost in Yonkers”, a play by Neil Simon. I honestly thought, small role….. Easy! I was wrong. Dead wrong. This role has been one of my hardest to date.

Do me a favor….. Repeat this line – ” Louie, can’t you just sit down for a few minutes until Bella tells us what it is she want to talk to us about.”
Now.. Repeat it again except after “Bella tells us” say the rest of that line sucking in…. Seriously try it!  Not so easy is it? Now do it with a New York accent…..

So that’s my character. Poor woman can’t breathe or talk right.

This was one of those plays I put my heart into. Like I said before, there is no small role.

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Photo by: Della Vodenicker

I want to tell you about the other characters and the people who portrayed them….

The boys.. Jay and Arty. (Eddie’s sons)
Jay played by Rowan. Rowan was born to be on stage. This young man has talent, he’s amazing. He’s not just an actor.. He sings, he dances… He does it all! The kid even spins fire. I have watched him grow into such a beautiful soul.
Arty is played by Levi. Love this kid! I can’t explain how he just takes the audience into his hands, I see a fabulous future on stage with this little guy!

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Photo by: Cassondra Greer

Then we have the siblings – Eddie, Louie, Bella (And me Gertrude)
Eddie is played by my friend Baron. I adore Baron. To me he is larger than life… Could be cause he towers over me by a foot, but honestly it’s cause he takes a role and makes it his own.
Louie is played by Ike. This guy… What can I say? Ike is good, very good and such a pleasure to watch on stage. I’m pretty sure this guy could grab your attention on the big screen.
Bella is played by Abby. Oh my Abby! Phenomenal actress. She is just a joy to be around. This was her first show with our little theatre, and I’m hoping not her last!

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Photo by: Cassondra Greer

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Photo by: Della Vodenicker

Last but definitely not least is Grandma. Grandma, or Momma is played by Sharon. This is my second show with Sharon. She is just a fantastic person to be around. So grounding. And I have to say she’s a damn mean Momma! 😉

Then there is Olivia (Barons daughter) and Mason (Levi’s brother) who have little cameos. These kids are awesome!

This cast was awesome!

I can’t forget our production and tech crew. Without them there is no show. There is no direction, no lights, no set.
Jim, our director. Jim is a straight shooter. I have shared the stage with him quite a few times, and I will say this man has helped make me a better actor. This was my first time under his direction, and yet again I feel he has only made me stronger. I have learned a lot from him and I am grateful.
Melissa is our stage manager. This lady I am proud to call my friend. This was actually her first time working behind the scenes and she rocked it! Always there. She is a rock. As awesome as she is on stage, she took that experience and used it on us. That right there my friend is pure genius.
Rebecca is our producer and costumer. She has the eye of an eagle. Fabulous is my only word for her.
Ken and Judy…. Ken built our beautiful set (with help from others) and Judy made it pretty. They both always give 100%, I hope they know how much they are appreciated.
Richard is our sound guy. But he’s not just the “sound guy”, he helps wherever he can. Without him…. Well you’d be bored to death!
Jeremy does our lights. You may think he’s just a button pusher, but it’s not true. One wrong move and we are in the dark… So he is our ” light”!
The we have the absolutely adorable Kelly running our spotlight! Love this girl! You can always count on her to put a smile on your face. She has more than once for me during this production.
And last but not least the ones that make us pretty, our makeup and hair ladies…. Charna, Cynthia, Judy (again) and Vikki. Love, love, love these ladies!

Today is our last show… Such a bittersweet moment. You work so hard to put a production together, then it’s over and on to the next!

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Thank you each and everyone of you!

I just love my theatre family. These people are real. This play was a difficult one for me. I lost my father during the rehearsal process, my car decided to play tricks on me and my husband changed jobs and hours. Each one of them were there for me, and helped me move forward. You all will be forever apart of my heart. My deepest thank you!

That’s our little cast.

But most of to my husband and kids for allowing me to live my dreams and putting up with it all!

Tired of living like I’m dying…

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So a week ago I decided it was time…. time to quit the narcotics. This isn’t the first time.

I hate pain killers. I have seen first hand what they can do to you, it’s not pretty. I have seen addiction, I have seen despair.
No. I am not addicted, my only addiction is nicotine. Which is another thing I will be trying to give up in just a few days. Not happy to do it, but it needs to be done.

I want my body, mind and soul back.

I hate the feeling of dependency. I have been on the pain killers for 2 years this time. I can’t do anything without them. Now mind you, they don’t take away the pain, I was only taking 20mgs a day of vicadin, they would allow just enough relief to get what I needed to get done… or what I could get done.

This week has been HELL! My body hurt from head to toe, I couldn’t stop shaking… the internal bone pain was so intense, I actually felt like I would be better off dead. My brain wasn’t working, my muscles were locked and my head felt like little mice were in there chipping away at my skull. It was excruciating. But I made it…. and I am not looking forward to next weeks nicotine withdrawal.

People close to me know what I’m going through. People like me understand the pain. Though most people around me, don’t get it at all. They don’t see me… they only “see” me. They see a petite, skinny woman. Most people “hate” me cause of my size. If they only understood how much I hate me too.

I’m going to share why I am the way I am. I don’t tell many people my personal health issues unless I trust them, but today I’m telling whomever will listen.

First, I have osteoarthritis (hands, feet, spine, and hips) and osteoporosis (40% bl). There are days, especially during winter and certain weather pressure that I can’t move, I can’t grip and I shake. This causes deep muscle spasms, and pain that only one whose experiences understands.

Second, I have a blood disease that causes me to not make enough red bloods cells or platelets. My white cells are always elevated, causing my immune system to shut down. Which is why I spend a lot of time in the hospital with pneumonia. My blood is thin and dark, strange combination. I have Von Willebrants disease, and auto immune disease. Honestly the doctor’s are still searching for answers, on why my blood changes so quickly. My body lives like I have cancer, though I don’t. It’s hard living safely when you’re a mom, I have to remember, one fall… one accident, could make me bleed to death.

Third, I have nerve damage, though the doctor’s say it’s fibromyalgia. Until there is a test that positively says I have something I don’t believe it….

And last but not least…. the freaking gut… celiac disease, IBS, and gastritis. My stomach hates me! I don’t eat gluten, acids or pork. I can’t gain weight. I try and try but I can’t.

So you see…. I’m a mess! I try so hard to live life positively, but there are days I have to be human. I have to live though. I have to mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter. I can’t lay still and allow myself to die. I wake up everyday praying that my body can heal itself… but how can it when I’m shoving one pill after the next in my mouth. You take one for this…. but you need this one to counteract that one, and these cause this, so now you have to take that. I’m plain sick of it. I’m tired of living like I’m dying!

So first…. goodbye pain pills. I can only do one at a time. Soon it will be goodbye nicotine… then anti-depressants… than stomach pills and last arthritis pills. How can I heal when all I am doing is suppressing it? So I’m going back to healing it naturally. I’m so tired of being tired, depressed and in constant pain. What kind of mother allows her children to see her like this (though I hide as much as I can). What kind of wife am I if I can’t allow my husband to hold me cause it hurts? What kind of friend am I when I stay locked up in my house so they don’t see the pain?

I’m tired of living like I’m dying! I’m taking my life back.
I need to be here, for as long as I have left, I need to be strong.

So those around me…. My family, my friends… bare with me please, I may not seem like myself for a little while, I’m learning to live again…. learning to live and push through the pain… and hopefully I’ll be back stronger than ever!

From baby to beauty

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My youngest just turned 7 years old this month. CRAZY
My baby is getting older….

So this is all about my Avary..

The best accident that ever happened to me.
Oh she is a handful… two maybe.
So easy to fall in love with!!!

This little sweetheart..

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The light that leads my darkness…. She is my savior, my heart.

Not sure if you believe in miracles…. She is mine.
Not sure if you believe in reincarnation… She is my sister.

We are connected in a different way than most mother/daughter – very hard to explain, but we knew each other before this life, and I’m almost positive I knew her in this life, before she was born.

Crazy…huh?

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I must share some pictures of cuteness…. it’s ok… You can “awe”.

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She is just growing up so darn fast….

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And so the years past… my little girl is growing up. I have to admit… don’t tell no one, but I sure do miss those days before she could walk. When she was in my arms, and staring at me like I was her world.

I am so grateful for her. For her smile, her hugs and kisses.

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Now she is 7 years old, and some days I feel like she is a teenager. One day I will have to let go, but not yet….

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Masquerade

Today, I think I’ll be myself.
No mask.

There is no one around… I’m alone.

I can look at old pictures, I can cry.
I can read old letters, I can laugh.
I can let go of my feelings,
Ones I’ve been holding back.

I will think of the accident…
I will get angry.
I let everything go.
I allow the tears to fall.

There’s a knock at the door…

I wipe the tears.
Put away my pictures and letters.
Put away my feelings.
Find my mask.

And let the masquerade begin….

Bobbi Jo Berwick 1997

I wrote this along time ago. After the loss of my brother and sister. I felt so alone, even though I was constantly around people that loved me.

I don’t share my poetry, not anymore. I’m not proud of my writing these days. But I am going to start again. A little bit here and there. So here’s the perfect spot to start.

If I only knew…

It’s a bad day.
I am sitting here in utter pain, out of meds for four days. Those that know what I’m going through….. Yes 4 days.

I’m sitting here reading some old poetry I wrote between the ages of 10-21 years old. It’s funny how dramatic life was at 14 years old!

If only I knew……
If I only knew my dreams would fade…..

When I was young, before I was a teenager, I thought life was bad. I went through more than any child could go through. I hid my pain. I hid my tears. I was a mess.

But… I had dreams, I had hope, I knew that the pain would end.

Boy was I wrong.
I was sooo wrong.
If I only knew.

Now I see so much of me in my son and daughter. I see the pain. I thought giving them love, and stability…. well I thought it wouldn’t carry to them.

I was wrong.
If I only knew.

I daydream a lot.  I mean a l o t……
I play parts when something needs to be done.
But it helps, at least for a little while.

If I only knew….
If I knew it would be this hard….

It’s a bad day. It’s a 10 day… if I only knew how do just deal.

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If I only knew….

Photos of Love…. Where my heart lies.

I’m going to share my own love…. my children.

I am so blessed to have these beautiful specimens as my children. They are all so different. Not one is like the other.

My oldest..

Now I may have not given birth to this beauty, but I have raised her for over a decade. She is me… poor thing acts just like me, you would never guess she isn’t mine.

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There may be times I could strangle her…. oh the teenage years…… but I’m proud of the woman she is becoming.

Then we have my boy. So shy… yet way to out spoken. He is something else. I was told at 14 years old I could not carry children. At 31, after a long, high risk, in bed pregnancy… I gave birth to this Angel. Oh what a feeling…. to have something I was told was impossible.

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This child is a handful! Maybe if he knew he almost killed me giving birth to him… he would be nicer…. Yea right, “he’s just a boy”…. that’s what they tell me!

So after years of being told I couldn’t carry a child, (There were medical reasons, but I’m sure you don’t want to hear.) I gave birth to my “miracle”. I was happy.

When my little man was 8 weeks old, we found yet that I was yet again pregnant. Oh I cried for 2 days straight. I was beyond scared. I almost died giving birth 2 months earlier.

No worries…perfect pregnancy… perfect baby girl.

That brings us to my youngest….

She was not a cute newborn, I wondered what happened… well friends, remember the whole “ugly duckling” story…. that’s my baby. What a cutie she’s turned out to be! …. with a heart of gold!

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Not a shy bone in this little girls body! My mini me!

I have been blessed….

No Santa? WHAT?

As you know I have 3 children, but today we are going to talk about my babies. Though they really aren’t babies any more, they are 6 & 7 years old.

So the Christmas season was well upon us…..

My son Joe (7), is a brat. There is no other word for him… plain and simple – BRAT!  He is mean and rotten (but cute as a button). My husband and I decided this year Santa wasn’t coming. Trying to teach the boy a lesson. We told both of them that Daddy talked to Santa, and he didn’t think he would be coming this year. He wanted them to learn to get along, clean their rooms and be respectful of all people around them. All was great… they understood.

Then here comes school. At school all the kids wrote their letters to Santa and Santa responded with a letter in the mail. One for both of them. Saying he can’t wait to visit and bring them lots of toys. And doted on how good they were this year….

Wonderful….. thank you Santa!

Now I think this a wonderful idea, don’t get me wrong. But my biggest issue….. “bring them lots of toys”…..

What about those kids whose parents can’t afford “lots” of toys? What about the ones that can’t afford anything? What do these parents do? We have a lot of low income families here. I guess that’s one way for children to find out the truth about Santa, when their little hearts are broken Christmas morning.

So after all our planning…. trying to teach our little ones a lesson is gone. I guess Santa will visit.

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Damn you old man!!!!

Feeling blessed…

I don’t usually post personal family stuff, but this is something I want to share….

This Thanksgiving was the first time, in almost 25 years that my sister’s and parents have all been together. There is a long drawn out story for reasons why, but just know it has been a long road getting hear.

It has been less than a year since I reconnected with my baby sister. I remember her as a child, and seeing her as an adult and single mom of three girls from 8 – 17 years old, let’s say I am more than impressed. I am truly blessed to have my family back together and get to know them again!

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Here we all are, minus my dad (whose taking the picture).

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Here we are with my sister’s, my dad and myself.  Now this picture was a long time coming, first one ever! (We are 37, 38 & 39 years old.) I will cherish this!

And here we are with mom….

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Here is everyone… Yes that’s me talking to the dog!

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So here’s to new memories, and an incredibly awesome Thanksgiving! I am so blessed to have my family back, it may have been a long time coming, but it was so worth the wait…..

Worth the wait.

I’m am your regular girl next door, nothing special, nothing flashy. I was always the girl that no one took notice, yes I had boy friends in high school – I wasn’t a total drag, but nothing super here. I had more guy friends than I did girls, most girls didn’t “get me”, I wore baggy jeans, flannel shirts and my hair pulled back. I hardly wore make-up and when I did it was cause I was having an ugly day, or a friend talked me into it. I liked things simple, I liked going unnoticed. I would sit in my room alone for hours writing poetry and short stories, and be quite happy doing so. Though I would also yearn for the opportunity to be part of a group. In my head I liked being different, but in my heart I wanted so bad to be a part of something.

Even 20+ years later I’m not all that different.

Now I am a wife, and mother of three…. and people still don’t get me. I am a stay at home mom, a painter, a photographer, an actor and a writer. I live in a huge Christian community, though I am not Christian. I hate the cold, yet I live in the mountains. I am complicated, hard headed and stubborn… yet I am easy going, soft and large hearted. I love my life, YES there are things I would love to change, but for the first time in my life I am completely content. I learn more about myself everyday and I really like the woman I turned out to be. I am lucky enough to have a beautiful relationship, one that should probably be really complicated, but it works, we work. He’s my soul mate, my best friend and my love. I have three children that drive me completely crazy, yet make me so proud that they call me mommy. I have some incredible friends that are more than just friends – they are family. Best of all they actually “get me”.  I get to share my love in my art, wether in form of canvas, photo or on stage.

I finally feel I am a part of something, it may have taken me over twenty years, but it was well worth the wait.