Travel notes - enjoying the family

Travel notes

1.  middle school basketball - our grandson's team won their CYO fast-paced, hard fought tournament game by 1 point. over the past 7 years we have watched these boys growing and learning. nice to be here as they play their last season on the same team.

2.  In and Out Burger vanilla milkshakes are terrific.

3.  all three grandsons are here. eldest came from college so we could have a family day - - lovely!
We are impressed by 2nd son's highway driving skill - I felt very at ease and that is really an accolade from me. Youngest is the basketball player - good on the court and enjoyed having both his older brothers routing for his team - - which was once their team.  Precious time. Savor the moments.

4. Report from the East - after another day of touring in China Jimmy has moved on to a week in Japan.
He says he has stories to tell - including Sunday Mass in Beijing.

5. Thinking about the Fringe around the edges. Booked on a Fresno Tv show Thursday - which I hope helps to get the word out.

6. Hills around SF are showing patches of fresh vibrant green grass - Spring.


Travel - - -

Friday afternoon at Dulles Airport.
Jim and I arrived very early for our 7 PM plane to California - just to make things easier. Not to feel pushed and rushed through Security. Now the noise level in the Concourse is rising as people converge for their flights.

Depending on how you looked at it - we were either comic relief or mounting frustration at the Security checkpoint. Surprise. Jim's suspenders - something new for his attire - set off  the metal detectors and it took several false starts through them to figure out what it was. By the process of elimination they filled several plastic bowls of "pocket stuff."  Finally he had to remove the suspenders - holding up his pants with one hand he finally made it through the metal detectors without setting off bells and buzzers.

I am just saying - go early - give yourself plenty of time - you never know where the surprise will be.

In our case we arrived early not knowing we would end up waiting still longer. Weather delays.......

People are clustered around the electrical outlets in this lobby - feeding their computers.

A young man sitting near my perch at the outlet  - is plugged in and fully wired - watching a movie on his computer and listening to music on his iPod. We are becoming isolated entertainment centers aren't we?


Stepping Back into the Past

Telling the Pushing Boundaries story at the Capital Fringe last summer was sooooooo much fun. 
Taking this picture out to remind me -
that I had fun then and that people liked the story.

Tomorrow Jim and I are flying to California where 
I will perform the
story four times at the Fresno Rogue Festival.

To do that I have to move back into those days.
See them, feel them, live them - again.
I am ready to start - stepping back into my past.


Walls and Girl Scout Cookies

Off the wall.

Take the messages where you find them.

Girl Scout Cookies

The next time sweet faced little girls come up the walk, dressed in their Brownie Scout uniforms and carrying a clip board I am not going to open the door for them. I am going to hide. I know they will be selling Girl Scout cookies.

 I order the cookies, mostly chocolate mint, maybe some Trefoils for old times sake and later will eat them all. Like today. The empty boxes are found on the kitchen table. Jim looks at me - - his face showing how he resents my beating him to them. "You mean they are all gone?"

It is a long standing pre-Spring ritual in our house.

Just asking - is there anything better tasting than Girl Scout chocolate mint cookies and cold milk?

In the day - of the dark ages - when I sold Girl Scout cookies - safely walking my neighborhood blocks - there was only one choice - the classic short bread Trefoils. Oh, yum!!! In those days we carried filled boxes of cookies with us.  I sold box after box - being careful to hold back several boxes which I would sell to my grandmother  - whose house was conveniently on my cookie route. Hers would be the last stop and we would share a snack - Trefoils and milk.

Those cookies are not safe - they are loaded with a powerful substance - - memories. Try and resist them.

Real Life

Back at the chemo lab today.

This is a place that teaches many lessons about
and generosity.

Its real life.


Across Time

Made this collage in Venice the summer Jim and I lived there for a month.
Reminds me of afternoons in the Venezia Viva atelier printing papers to use for collage materials
Sweet memories of my friend Pat - gone almost a year.

Long hours working on all the paper work 
needed to produce Pushing Boundaries at the Rogue Festival.

Facebook  notices
etc etc etc etc
I don't mind doing it
but it does take sooooo much time.

Also I am distracted.

Heard yesterday that I have been officially accepted into the 2011 Capital Fringe Festival.
With a new one-woman show - My Diamond Jubilee.
So I am eager to begin to focus only on developing that program.

Its going to be a challenge

there is a lot of water under the bridge that has carried me
from being this little darling

to being me - on my 75th birthday.

More to come.


China, Rogue Festival, and a new book.

This morning our son Jimmy's email from China was a relief.
"Have landed. Flight was fairly smooth - but very long." The flight is 14 hours from Dulles.

He's there on business, yes, but I know he will bring back wonderful
pictures. He is our Marco Polo and we look forward to hearing his stories.

 His first picture - taken at night - just establishes that he is in China.

In the meantime Jim and I are scurrying around getting ready for our trip to California on Friday. Lists, lists, lists and fitting in necessary appointments. We will be there for ten days - with a lot to squeeze in - time with Robin and her family, visits with Jim's family in Madera and Fresno and an over-night with his brother in LA.

For me a major focus will be four performances of Pushing Boundaries for the Rogue Festival in Fresno. I have performed at this festival twice before and enjoyed it. This is their 10th year. The Rogues is about half the size of the Capital Fringe Festival in DC. It is held in a dozen venues in the Tower District - which is an old, seasoned neighborhood - Jim's childhood neighborhood. That's fun! Last year I was on the schedule but cancelled when Jim spiked a fever and was hospitalized. Things look good for this trip.

For some time I have been looking for a good book - a book that would pull me in and hold me. So when MO storyteller Mary Garrett mentioned her fondness Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear I paid attention and made a quick trip to our local library. WOW - a shelf filled with this author's works. I checked out the first, Maisie Dobbs, and now I love this character.
Maisie Dobbs is a smart, human and loving woman who uses her head to solve mysteries. The books are set in Great Britain during the years of and afternWorld War I - a new period for me and Winspear writes about it so carefully and vividly that I am understanding more about the human cost of that war.
Even better it is a well-established series so I am looking forward to a good many months in Maisie Dobbs' world.
Reading Nancy Drew when I was a kid opened me to the joys of a series where the world widens and the characters stay with you through all their adventures.


New Video - Swimming

SWIMMING 1 from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

Video of a recent Stories in Time program on Channel 16, Kensington, MD

Family stories show how generations are connected. This story is also a good example that family stories are not set in stone - they keep growing. In fact, I think this story is better for the later addition.


NEW VIDEO - Conversation with Andy Offutt Irwin

Andy Offutt Irwin from Ellouise Schoettler on Vimeo.

When storyteller Andy Offutt Irwin was in the DC Metro area telling stories last month we had a chance to talk on camera.  I was so happy that he brought his wonderful character Aunt Marguerite with him and she had a few things to say too. Enjoy.


Tales in the Village - Megan Hicks and Nick Newlin

 Tales in the Village

Opening the evening I was so grateful for a room filled with storylovers and storytellers. One thing you worry about when producing a show - will anyone come to hear the stories - particularly when you've asked a teller to come from out-of-town
Nick Newlin opened the show with a well-crafted, funny and real story about how he settled down to a steady relationship with his wife Joanne. I had felt that Nick's stories and storytelling would be compatible as well as a complement to Megan's stories. It was all I had hoped. And, the audience loved Nick's story.
Nick Newlin is a regular storyteller at Speakeasydc - who has had a long time career performing on the Renaissance Fair circuit across the country. He and his wife perform together as the widely known act - Nicolo Whimsey. Relatively new to performing as a solo storyteller Nick is well on his way to a second career perch.

Featured teller: Megan Hicks. A wonderful show.  She told two original stories - -  with her wit and enthusiasm - from the heart. Megan's easy manner captivates her audience so that they enter her well-crafted stories, loving and relating to her characters.
I have enjoyed and admired Megan Hicks and her stories since I first her - maybe ten years ago- - - always wanting to hear more. When we started this series, Tales in the Village, she was the first person I thought of  -
Megan was my guest on the TV show earlier in the day - talking about her love of history and how living in Fredericksburg, VA pushed her toward her wonderful Civil War story of the 19 year old Confederate - a good Samaritan to wounded Yankee soldiers.  

Megan is also a very talented and imaginative artist. She called herself a trash artist and makes wonderful things from discards.
She brought a few of her pieces with her - - - -
a nice value-add to the evening.



I remember when I made this collage -
a busy time
so I titled the piece - Balancing.

It still fits me perfectly.
Always juggling
too many things at one time.

Just saying
that seems to be how I manage.

Catching up on paper work today. There are always letters to write to close the loop when you make a trip. And, there is also the stuff that was still to be done when you left home - not to mention the stuff that came in while you were gone. I do take time to wonder - is all of it important - really? Can I make better choices?

One good choice today was a long telephone call with my sister. Now those are always good.
And, thank you notes matter - especially when folks have been as thoughtful and warm as some on my list have been - for instance - one of my classmates attended the program Wednesday night and then took the time to write about it for our class website.

A review of my program for the Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society posted to the CHS54 Blog.
Obie Oakley who posted is a published author of history and memoir.

The trip to Charlotte not only launched my diamond jubilee year - it also opened the flood gates for memories of my growing up years in Charlotte. I will be working on stories -

and--- it also brought the realization that, as important as those years are to me - they accouint for less than a quarter of my seventy-five years. I left home when I was 18 to go to school in Baltimore, Maryland. It's my connection to my parents that kept my focus on Charlotte. That is something to mull over. To sift. To savor.

Actually, although I don't call Chevy Chase, Maryland my home town - I have lived here, in my present house,  more than half my life. Jim and I bought this house in 1970. 1970. Forty-one years ago. That's worth at least a chapter, don't you think?

A pressing question for me --- what's the vantage point for my diamond jubilee story -  

What if the story starts right here in this house??????


Life and Stories

Sunday there was a chance for a quick visit with Jimmy before he left for a week of business in Moscow. No disputing they are father and son - look so much alike.

Last Sunday when we were leaving town for our NC adventure our van acted up. Jimmy and Monica saved the trip by loaning us their van - "take our car."  Our car is still in the shop and we still have their van - now, that's really lovely!


About storytelling:

Barely home, we turned around the next day and drove to Richmond
so that I could tell stories with Tell Tale Hearts for their 12th annual Valentine's program" "Fools for Love."
I told "Good Will Mourning" - which is a Valentine for Jim.

I really appreciated having a chance to tell stories with these good tellers - L- R: Anthony Burcher, Denise Bennett, Judith Onesty, (me) and Les Schaffer.

This week-end was truly rich with stories because Sunday night we drove up to Frederick to hear Geraldine Buckley tell her original stories in a program, Destination Slammer.  It was a FUN evening!

But, although we enjoyed Geraldine's stories - Jim and I had heavy hearts. At home our daughter Karen was sitting with Bill, her moribund cat.

We left quickly as soon as the stories were done and as we pulled out of the parking lot Robin called from CA to tell us that Bill had died shortly before. I was surprised we reached Karen's in an hour. Karen's heart is broken. Bill was 15 years old and a lovely cat. Losing a well-loved pet is a huge hurt,



First stop on our trip to North Carolina - an overnight visit with my sister Lynda and her husband who live in Siler City, NC. So nice to spend time with them. While Jim and Henry were
caught up in the Super Bowl Lynda and I had plenty of time for


Before Jim and I left we took time for a few pictures! This is after all
the beginning of my Diamond Jubilee celebration - which I want to re-cord - and what better way to start off - a visit with Lynda. There are five us siblings - I am the oldest - next Lynda. Third, Kathy who
lives in Georgia and our brother Robert - also in Georgia.

Jim and I drove on to Charlotte where we met the fifth - my baby sister, Dena.

Lovely visit - catching up on our lives  - Dena and her husband are part of a local band - Exit 54 - which performs in and around the area. She has discovered that she can sing, banter with the band, and just add a special touch to the stage. Loved hearing about how they are expanding and building their audience.

We met for lunch at a small cafe on the corner of Pecan and 7th Street. I remember this small space as my grandmother's neighborhood grocery store, The Big Star, during the 1940s. This was my childhood neighborhood and I remember all these places vividly.

As happens in families with siblings who are many years apart - this is not Dena's neighborhood. In her childhood years our parents were living in Dilworth. The memories of the space were mine to gather, and I did.

If my Jubilee plan works out I will be seeing my brother and my sister Kathy in Georgia in May after I tell stories at Stone Soup Storytelling Festival, Woodruff, SC.


Catching my Breath

Wonderful evening of theater last night. "Let Me Down Easy", Anna Deavere Smith's powerful one-woman show. She is an awesome performer.
I was inspired by her performance to re-think my own solo show for the 2011 Capital Fringe.

Claudia Vess and I are sharing an exhibition at the Day Star Gallery at the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament Church, DC. 

The Opening Reception this afternoon was quite pleasant. People enjoyed the works which are very well hung. The Curator, artist Patti Friend is very accomplished at presenting works in their best light.

Tomorrow Jim and I are driving to NC. Its late. I am still not completely packed and ready to leaver as early as we planned.
I will be telling stories - have worked on the trip for weeks - getting things together, arranging to see people etc. This is the launch for "My Diamond Jubilee." Yes, I am excited and pleased but also dragging my heels now that its really here. Isn't that the way?

Anyway, tonight when our expected host called to say there was illness in the house. Not a safe place for Jim - I felt a bit rattled. Then more rattled when I discovered that there is some kind of BIG meeting in Charlotte next week and all the hotels in the area are completely booked. Not depairing I called The Morehead Inn - an elegant B and B where I had stayed some years back - no they could not help. Booked.

Down the list - The Duke Mansion - a fabled residence in Charlotte - now a B and B of "distinction". Why not? I called - yes! There is a room for us - over-looking the fountain. Let's not talk about the "tab". This is going to be a story! 

Sometimes these things just work themselves out!

You know - Throw money at it - that usually solves the problem!!!!

Until the American Express bill lands in the mail box.


Red Shoes

Dance all night in red shoes.


A New Toy

Playing with my new FLIP video. Always clitches. Did not expect it to take so long to upload.
And I have to think about how I will use it.
But the possibilities intrigue me.


Antiques Row, Kensington, MD

Jim and I had a lunch date at the Tea Room in Kensington. Antiques from the multiple shops in the building surround you. Fun to look at and - better to photograph them that buy and bring them home.

Also- the images are great to play with - to paint in the computer without the mess of real paints.
OK I know - I am missing the tactile quality of the paint - but lately - - playing with color through the computer satisfies me.