Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tap Pups - all-cast rehearsals and the show as seen from backstage

What, the show is over?
Now what?

As much as I feel like THIS the day of the show, all butterflies, nerves, adrenaline, and anticipation, afterwards I inevitably feel at loose ends.
But here are some moments and quotes and thoughts...

We'll get the official DVDs when they're ready... but they're always a work of art, so it will doubtless be months before they come out.  Props to Brian and his team also for the graphics work and videos that separated the dances -- interviews and dance clips of each of us.  It's a huge step up from my first show with Vicki, when we had a specific order (that year, by age) to come out between dances and pass the mic to say our name, age, and occupation. 

Quoteable moments:
  • Do I throw coal over my near shoulder or my far shoulder?
  • The whole shovel!
  • Does he dance this way when he's dressed as a pistachio?  (about Psy)
  • There's no music for this one?  Yes, acapella means no music.
  • I dance by sound.  -Andrea, who helped us review One by dancing along and voicing dah-duh-duh-las instead of ball-change-steps
  • Who dances up there?  -Franz, via FB about the scissor lift installing lights in the flies.

And my personal favorite:
  • There are no mistakes, just unexpected solos.  -"Not dead yet" Mary

Tech is always fun. Always always always be nice to your techies. I wouldn't want their job! And with a husband and a dad who run sound at a church level, I have utmost respect for the crew. But here's a moment of SAT prep, Tap Pups style.

For me, this is THE dance.  And when opportunity arose to learn-slash-review it this past winter, a number of "new intermediates" (those that moved up this year or were new to the Tap Pups at Int), jumped at the chance. And then we were told that it was "just for fun", that it wouldn't be in the show, no pressure. And over the course of a month of Saturdays, extra classes, those that knew the dance had brushed it up, and those that were new to it had at least seen every part once. And then it was tabled because there's always so much else to do.

When we got to all-level rehearsals1 we saw the first posting of tentative show order. And One was on the list.

1Not full cast; by all-level I mean everyone at a given level. There are multiple B3 classes during a week, multiple Int classes, etc, and we need the all-level rehearsals to work out who dances where, etc.)

Some of us (read: I) hadn't practiced One since January.
But it's ONE.
Some chose to brush up on it from what they knew from last year and reviewed in January.
Some figured they hadn't locked it in from new in January and chose not to dance it in the show.
Some danced it last year but hadn't reviewed it enough to be confident in it.
But for three of us, the opportunity to dance in ONE was worth all the work.
It was glorious. And I don't mind telling you, I was emotional to the point of tears at the tail end of it during the show.

It's One.

Assorted 50s/60s Dances
It should be noted that at least EIGHT assorted dances were CUT from the choreography! Before that we were "requesting" that the video feed of which dance was next be projected to the rear of the auditorium, for our own memory's sake. The way Vicki put this dance together as performed was just fantastic -- and in the show we didn't use a "show shirt", we each put together an outfit, from cat's eye glasses to lettermen's jackets to a Harley jacket to poodle skirts and color, motion, and JOY! Daniel (our photographer this week, but who also has given us Broadway masterclasses) says that the only reason for dance is joy.

Anticipation... "You should be here!"

And finally, Brian taped a bit of the show opening, Wings... you can never bring back the experience, just some of the data from it... but this tiny clip of an all-consuming day was enough to tear me up again.
Official Wings video

EDIT: Some video clips removed from blog post.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Waze - traffic/mapping app

Sure do wish I knew about Waze BEFORE our 1600-mile Atlanta roadtrip, specifically before taking I-81 at 25mph all the way thru Virginia on the return trip!  (P-a-i-n-f-u-l-!)

Link to GeekMom's full post; what a great resource!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Computing Power

Mom working towards her 15min of fame

My mom, the luddite of luddites, has made it onto YouTube.

She was present at the announcement of Ken Ulman, the current Howard County Executive, being named the running mate to Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown. My parents have been involved in local and state-level politics ever since some of their PTA friends (yay for involved parents!) started running for offices. And although mom and dad get the occasional, "What's ___ doing at your networking social? They're a Republican!", what it boils down to is that all these people are my parents' friends, regardless of party lines.

Anthony Brown, Governor 2014 | Anthony Brown’s Running Mate will be Howard County Executive Ken Ulman
Mom sat about four rows back of the podium and appears at the top left of the screen during the announcement.
so on the Youtube clip, she appears at 0:26, 0:41, 0:50, and 1:25.

(I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. My family and friends are super supportive and consistently make it into commemoration of significant events in my life. My mom is in a photo in my college freshman yearbook. The whole family made it into crowd scans on at least two of my tap DVDs. And when the Tap Pups were on CBS Sunday Morning, I was onscreen for a single frame, and my then-4yo buddy C was onscreen for about 5 seconds of a 6min nationally televised clip.)

Calvin & Hobbes + 26 years = Hobbes & Bacon

Calvin & Hobbes + 26 years = Hobbes & Bacon

This is absolutely priceless! There are four strips, the first of which is below. Click the link above to get all four and an ongoing discussion.

source: PantsAreOverrated

I miss Calvin & Hobbes, but I am delighted that they still appear on FB on Daily Calvin & Hobbes.

And people reference them in unexpected places, like in describing the card game Fluxx as Tabletop Calvinball.

BTW, remembering that Calvin and Hobbes are named for theologians John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes, Bacon is ostensibly named for Francis Bacon.

Calvin & Hobbes + 26 years = Hobbes & Bacon

Convention bullet points, part 2

close of Addison's opening speech
  • This can happen for me and my family.
    Stop talkin' about what you're gonna do and GO DO IT.
    Not the Future, the NOW.
    At some point, gotta snap! Gotta quit sticking a toe in and JUMP IN and MAKE IT HAPPEN!


  • How would my life be different now if i were free?
    Either design a life of freedom or live a life of bondage -Chris Koob

  • We gon' throw you in a jersey, gon' put you in the game, and see what you're made of. -Mary Walker
  • Don't think for a minute that the dream inside you, as yet unseen, is not making a difference.
    You are going for something... or you are going nowhere -Kara Dower
  • Where we are is not the definition of who we are, it's where we're going...
    "You wait 'til you see my next six months!" -Cindy Kicklighter
  • When you're born you look like your parents, but when you die, you look like your choices. -Lisa Jones
  • As long as you don't quit, you'll beat everybody out there -Susan Carreon

Sat Closing Session
  • Asking myself: for the set-your-head: If we went RVP and could choose our Jimmy-school intro music, what would you like?

Wall of Fame
  • H!!!!!!!!!!!
    May need a whole 'nother H post!
  • Always go up whenever you have a chance. The whole team (Not really. But why would you not go up front??) went up for the Naylors' promotion but worked their way back to their seats. Why wouldn't you stay up front once you put the effort in to get up there?
  • Later on, for the next recognition, I was poking people to go up front and a teammate directly asked, "Is there anyone related to us?" They're all related to us! If I were stranded anywhere and could get to a phonebook, I would call the nearest Primerica office and I know I would be welcomed and aided! That's what family does.

Onstage at Primerica Convention 2013!

There is no stage bigger than the Georgia Dome, known by Primerica as "Our House". Watch as Maria & Peter Naylor get the recognition due them in front of 50,000 of their friends and teammates.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Six words to say TODAY!

Encourage simply!

Linked above is a "heart-touch" (having English issues, but that's the ASL gloss) post on simplicity. My tendency is towards "every moment a teaching moment". This is a great reminder of the beauty in simplicity.
"I love to watch you play!"... although I have never really thought about, I’m pretty sure I’m wordy in my praise, too. I try not to criticize, but when I go into extensive detail about my child’s performance it could be misinterpreted as not being “good enough.”
TL;DR: KISS. Appreciate without explanation.

Friday, June 14, 2013

H (not the H my family is thinking of, the H my teammates are thinking of)

Many, many moons ago, I went to Sandusky, Ohio with H to hear "how it really came to be" from our company's founder, Art Williams.
We took a group shot of those from H's baseshop (and me), and since I'm short I always figure I'll stand in the front and no one has to look over me. Which makes cropping a largish group photo into a more intimate one easy.

But some people prefer photoshop to a mere cropping.

Did you know I was on Family Guy? Wouldn't you think someone would have told me I was on Family Guy?

Then, at Convention, H let me try on his new ring, the one with five diamonds in it. As Elizabeth Koob said in Partnership, "Everything is sexier with more diamonds."

Later on, I saw this.

I wonder if they're delivering the rings for people not only adding diamonds but also transitioning to rubies, sapphires, and emeralds? I know I'll never win a SuperBowl ring (Go, Ravens!) because I'm the wrong height, weight, and sex for that, but in Primerica I can earn a SuperBowl ring! And I remember from a Women in Primerica conference that P31 says that a wife of noble character is worth more than rubies, and we in this business all know what that means!

PS According to H, in this modern age of apps, you can "bald" any photo you want, and H's 10yo son, bald-via-app, looks like Art.

PPS Also got a nifty story about H and his wonderful wife sitting in the very front front front row of an all-company event to hear Art speak back in 1995 or so. Good story.

Not to us, but to your name be the glory!

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?"
Our God is in heaven, God does whatever pleases God.

Psalm 115:1-3 NIV

Delight yourself in the LORD, and the LORD will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4NIV

We drove all night to get to Atlanta, and we arrived at the brand new Primerica Home Office, located at 1 Primerica Parkway, Duluth GA at 8:30am. Although we had emailed (late) about getting onto a tour, we realized that what would end up happening in practice was the home office tour staff being gracious to us and letting us join an existing, overfull, convention-week tour on the premise that there are just three of us, after all, and our fabulous home office staff really bends over backwards to accomodate the field force. But God had bigger plans for us.

Upon our arrival, the first tour of the day was just being herded into the Art and Angela Williams theater. It was a little bitty tour because one busload was running late and another busload was hopelessly stuck in traffic. So accomodating us was no problem at all.

Kim from Tours, (also from Promotions and Recognition) says that usually in Convention week, about 6000 people come thru the Home Office on tours, and that they had reservations already for 3200+ three different days this week (bear in mind that Convention doesn't start until this evening) with the expectation of 7-800 more drop-ins (like us!) and she had pulled in 60-70 Home Office volunteers. She says that she's really on the "field" end of things and she loves seeing home office people interact with the field force and get to know what it's like on the crusade end of the company.

We trooped thru department after department of our staff (how cool is it to have thousands of people on your staff but not on your payroll?), many of which were virtually empty due to people being onsite for Convention, and although Rick was hard at work on a conference call and wasn't available to chat with us, Glenn was more than happy to press the flesh and give hugs all around our tour group. (He says that is in part because we were the first tour of the day -- by day's end he's more on the "wave towards you" end of his energy.)

Julie Seaman's office was my favorite, particularly one print.

right photo, source: etsy designsbyNicolina

The whole place really is designed to sell the dream and allow us to imagine bigger, dream bigger.

From the displays of our leaders and heroes and history:

To the Wall of Fame, which includes some recent and some less-recent photos of past company MVPs.

And we love how accessible our leadership is, including a personal hero of mine, Cheryl Bartlett, who we stalked down from the tour following ours. (And perhaps God is nudging us towards Canada because on our tour were Arleigh and Fern Larson, and since then we are seeing them EVERYwhere.)

The single neatest interactive (in a Home Office full of touchscreens and displays and videos and stories) was an image of a Convention high-five line onstage at the Georgia Dome, in which you and your partner or your team could pick up an MVP trophy and take a short video! There was some serious time delay in how it processed the photos, but that allowed for stills as well:

Here's the video of Big Frog and me at the Home Office, at the tail end of the Imagine tour, visioning ourselves as company MVPs!

Later, taking our credentials and our workbook coupons to check in, our teammate went to add a workshop to her slate of activities. She added Women's, and the clerk gave her not one but three workshop passes! So she was able to (after overcoming her not-want to go alone) swap women's #2 for Hispanic, and also women's #3 for Partnership!

Also, shhhhhhh... The Future was less-well-guarded than we expected, so we were able to catch the back half of that as well... my personal takeaway there is that I'm sick and tired of having to sneak into meetings. My misgivings about myself notwithstanding, I'm good enough because I have a great big wonderful God!

If we are faithful in the little things, God will bless us full and overflowing!

Most Impactful - Primerica Convention 2013

A collection of Deep Thoughts, connected only by venue. Our leadership at Primerica is so great, and success principles are so universal, that even if you don't have the business to apply these bits to, they'll work in other areas of life.

(That third one looks like we're in the middle of Shim Sham... Show's next week! Some people say they're getting enough walking in to be able to skip walking workouts for weeks after Convention, but I say it's preparation for VBS next week (Vacation Bible School, not Virtual Base Shop!) and the Tap Show the week after!!

from AALC

photo source: make the jump | Tumblr

photo source: SparkPage

from Partnership:
  • Moving from "Great things always happen to me!"
    to "Great things always happen to US!" -Daniel & Karma Alonzo

  • Celebrate the first downs, not just the touchdowns. -David Farmer

from Maniac hierarchy night -- way to sugarcoat things, Gina [Penn]!
  • Keep the promises you made to your partner.
    Do what you say you're gonna do.
    Stop putzing around.
    Win trips and take your spouse on trip of a lifetime!

from District Leader breakout:
  • Right now I am a face in the crowd. It's up to me whether the crowd will know my face. (Original quote was in 2nd person from Richie Falcone; I put it in the "I".)
  • It's not what you learn, it's what gets inside you. It's how you feel about what you do. - Bob Graham
  • How are you going to react when things don't go your way? -Dave Harms
  • Gotta own it in order to share it w/ ppl -Keith Otto

Personally reflecting on the "Convention Shuffle" (remembering quote: "You can get to RVP faster than you can get from building A to building B in this place!")
  • It would be easier if there weren't 12,000 District Leaders in here, but it wouldn't be better.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

God looked down from heaven and...

Moses was called to lead, and Moses was reticent to speak, but God looked down from heaven and said,
"You suck, but I'm awesome. I'm gonna speak thru you and work thru you."

source: Apples of Gold

(approximate quote from the MVP of The Future, Primerica Convention 2013)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Life Lessons: Blinky Sneakers

Note to self: If the room is going to be dark, the shoes shouldn't blink.

It should first be pointed out that I can wear kid-sized sneakers. And kid shoes cost significantly less than adult shoes. And I have no problems being frugal, although I try not to be cheap. It's all about value.

I remember, when blinky sneakers first came out, one of my friends in a similar situation actually whited out the lights on her kid-sized sneakers, to make them look like they were adult sneakers. I don't think there's any way to make the lights stop, and with the delightful energy efficiency and longevity of LEDs, it's almost a guarantee that the sneakers will wear out before the lights die.

Maybe we need sneakers with an on-off switch?1 Like for in the theater? For those days when I bring a 2yo who loves to dance to a dance recital? Good thing we were sitting in row EE and were surrounded by friends.3

1 And what ever happened to lace-themselves sneakers? Michael J Fox, Nike, two years! 1985 + 30 years = 20152. Tick tock.
2 All other dates are photoshopped, even though the meme persists. The DeLorean went 30 years back in time and 30 years forward in time. Yes, it could have been programmed for any day ever, but in the movie, Doc set it for 30 years in each direction.
3 By contrast, when similar happened to my friends at the planetarium, the guide stopped the narrative cold to "request", "Will the parents whose kid is wearing blinky shoes please take the shoes off?"

C has been dancing two years with Studio 91, and delightedly told me today that next year, she's taking both ballet AND tap.

A girl and her faithful supporters.

And presiding over her celebratory lunch afterwards.

Comparing the girl and her groupies this year and last year: