“We enjoy her exuberance….”

“We enjoy her exuberance, Mrs. Skauge.  We only wish she would save some for recess.”

Yup, that was a comment from my report card at school.  Oh I was a talker AND I had to keep moving.  No, I was never diagnosed but can you guess what kind of student I was?  I still remember my grade six teacher designed a beautiful tree in the back of his classroom with detachable leaves, each with an idea on the back.  He told me that the tree was for me so when I finished my work (quickly of course) I had something to do.  I hope you are laughing by now.  Yes, I was hyper, tightly wound, sensitive…I am sure you get the picture!

I used to get headaches from my intense playtimes, never took afternoon naps and was a bed wetter.  Ah childhood, ain’t it pretty?  My mom put me in the rocking chair beside her and sewed well into the night as I chattered or sang to her.  I was always singing.  It took a long time to exhaust me.  Summer came and I was in as many camps as my parents could afford!

It’s never a surprise to anybody that I chose theatre as a career.  Well, it chose me, actually!  I lasted about a month in the education faculty at university. Lord help me!  The pacing was too slow for me. Where could I put all that energy? The U of C Theatre department offered tons of extra curricular opportunities and varied courses.  While I was a student I worked full days in a Theatre for Young Audiences production and sang in a rock band at the same time! Even then, I wanted more of something, but what?  It wasn’t until I designed a 500 level course on storytelling that it came clear to me. I found a strange balance in teaching workshops and creating original work.  The multi-tasking life suited me, it still does!

As I write today, I am planning to be one of four facilitators in a workshop for September called “Let your Body Speak” (more on that later) and figuring out how I can dove tail my volunteerism with my freelance work.  I have committed to helping a little fellow read once a week and want to start a community kitchen.

Finding purpose in what I do and making it meaningful is key to my own personal happiness. I hate wasting time and need to know that my actions are helping in some way.  I really want to change the world with a story!

Giddy Up!

Welcome to my blog!

“60 Up!” is about hoisting myself out of old patterns, placing my feet firmly in the stirrups without hesitation and saddling up for non-stop adventures!

Wanna join me?  Let’s ride, baby!

Fast approaching my sixtieth year in this world, I promised myself to fearlessly create by seeking out new collaborations, completing my fourth book and dusting off those vocal chords that are aching to sing again. It has been forty years of being a drama practitioner and professional actor.  Time to put those big girl panties on and ride tall, no excuses!

My mother rode bareback.  I have a distinctive memory of her lifting herself onto my uncle’s horse as she held onto the bridle.  One click from her mouth and they were off through the wheat fields, full gallop. My uncle and I watched her.  He shook his head in disbelief and said, “Look at her go!”  She called over her shoulder promising she’d be back soon but she was gone for hours.   When she returned you couldn’t wipe the grin off her face.  Saddle sores came later that night.  I could hear her wince and laugh at the same time.  It was worth it!

When I need a push forward, I call on her for help and a flood of memories come through to remind me that I don’t come from a family of quitters.  That same woman taught herself how to crochet at seventy-five just because, learned how to run a cash register in her fifties and re-organized a whole card company warehouse.  Her boss cried when she left.  He told her she was the best employee he ever had.  Her tumultuous childhood was filled with horrible ordeals that sent her packing by the time she was sixteen.  Some stories I can’t tell.  “Never look back,” Mom told me years later.  “You gotta keep moving.”  And she did, right across the country!  My mom made bombs back east.  I think it suited her personality!  Even as two debilitating kinds of arthritis bent her back and sent writhing pain through her arms and legs, she persevered walking around the block daily.  She knew that moving was everything. My last memory of her before she went into the hospital for the last time was baking bread propped up with her walker.
“Well, your father’s got to eat.”  When she passed, both freezers were full!

So what keeps us from moving forward?  We’re living in challenging times.  Haven’t we always? I might need a saddle to keep my endurance up but I know if I place my mother’s spirit in my heart I can do anything!