They say the first cut is the deepest, but is the final slice the sweetest? This year was my second time slicing, and when I think about it we were definitely in a different place than last year. I remember that we were still teaching hybrid and most after school activities were non-existent. When the opportunity came around again this year, I was not sure if I would or could do it again. I worried that with the school year at hand and my musical and workout commitments, it would be too much and that I would not be able to keep up. I am glad that I decided to push through and slice once more. It truly is a nice way to look back and see what I was up to or thinking about from year to year. I look forward to slicing again next year and connecting with all of my favorite fellow slicers. Until then…
I am a self-proclaimed man-child. I wear this title with a badge of honor. I would not consider myself to be a grown man baby, but I have some interests and hobbies that one might associate with children more than they would with a 36 year old man. For instance, I still love everything Harry Potter and Star Wars just as much as when I was a kid. Mildly acceptable? Okay then. I also collect Legos. Not all kinds but some themes, including those aforementioned childhood loves. Lego ain’t cheap, so I guess this could require some mature levels of saving and spending. Oh okay, then how could I forget? I am obsessed with everything Marvel related or adjacent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and superhero movies/tv shows.
I would say my superhero fandom all probably started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then probably Power Rangers, which finally led me to the X-Men cartoons from the 90’s. This was my first experience with the canonical Marvel catalogue. As a young queer kid growing up in a time that looks a bit different from today’s landscape, the themes and allegories were not unnoticed or unappreciated. And I have been bewitched (pun intended) ever since. The new Disney+ show Moon Knight started today and I have been really looking forward to watching and continuing my man-child status. I have a feeling I will be waiting for my X-Gene to kick in (and my Hogwarts letter) until I am an old man-child.
This week, my spring break goal is to hit the gym twice a day Monday-Thursday and Saturday. I know, I know. But when you are a single, childless, and vacationless person, these things happen. So far I have maintained my goal and even managed to see people and run errands on top of it.
A brief overview; I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years back. I changed my diet and started exercising soon after that with the goal of maintaining my blood sugar without the need for any medications. I hit this goal last spring and for almost a year I have been able to control my diabetes, which is a big accomplishment. But in the process, I have also lost 40lbs and built some muscle along the way. It feels great to see my progress and try and push myself to go even further. I was very worried that when musical rehearsals kicked into gear that I would not be able to maintain my fitness schedule. It is really easy to workout and hit the gym when there is nothing else going on and nowhere to go. But I am happy that I have been able to make it work and not succumb to any old habits.
In July of 2020, I became an Uncle (or Zio in Italian) for the first time. Watching my little niece Olympia grow up over the last year and a half has been such a wild experience. I love seeing her develop and grow as glimpses of her personality start to shine through. Watching her experience new things for the first time and be amazed at simple things we jaded adults take for granted is always grounding. Today, I am spending my day with her while her parents are working; one from home and one not. The good news being that help is always nearby.
Olympia is currently obsessed with Minnie Mouse so I brought her a Minnie themed Easter basket full of more Minnie goodies. She also loves bubbles so I was excited to find a Minnie Mouse bubble set. It has been fun watching her play and run around the house and hearing her call for me “io” “io” for “Zio.” She is currently finishing up a nap so I had a couple moments to write up this slice and reflect on our time together. I love her dearly and look forward to many more Olympia and Zio days.
My day twenty-seven post last year was all about my love for the movies. It is serendipitous that a similar inspiration lines up again this year. I have a confession to make, I am basic. I love award shows and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with it. I love celebrating the arts and watching all the precursor events and interviews. I love reading about all of the predictions leading up to the nominations and the awards ceremony itself (and making my own predictions). And of course I love watching the red carpet and seeing what everyone is wearing.
The Oscars are tonight and it is always a goal to see as many of the nominees before the big night as I can. This year, I have seen 7/10 of the Best Picture nominees minus Belfast, Drive My Car, and Licorice Pizza. The Power of the Dog stands out to me as a unique story with a beautifully filmed landscape of actors and locations. I remember the first two movies that really got me into the awards show obsessiveness; Titanic and Moulin Rouge. I remember seeing Titanic in the movie theater an inappropriate amount of times for a 12 year old considering it is 3 hours long. I was so swept away by the love story and tragic star-crossed lovers. Moulin Rouge was probably the first movie that expanded the box for what a movie was a could be in my mind. I still love to see movies that break new ground for storytelling and advance the medium beyond what is expected.
Today was the first day of my spring break and also the first day in a while where I did not have anything on the docket. I purposely went to the gym at 8am so that I would get that out of the way. I had a really good workout so that made me feel accomplished from the get go. I grabbed some coffee on the way home and relaxed and watched my stories, aka my daily YouTube follows, for a little while. After some well deserved laziness I had some lunch and ran a few insignificant errands. Truly, that was about it. It is nice to have a day like this when necessary. I feel like while my first day of spring break was not necessarily the most exciting, but it was what I needed in the end.
I was brainstorming ideas for today’s slide when my furry friend reminded me that he is the moment. This is Whiskey the cat. I adopted him about six and a half years ago from a friend of a friend. They had a young child who was progressively becoming sick from the cat due to a severe allergy. He was then named Mr. Whiskers and I happened to be turning thirty a few days after picking him up, so I told myself that I could not be a grown adult with a cat named Mr. Whiskers. So I changed it to the next best thing.
I have always loved animals even though we never had any growing up. My dad was “allergic” so aside from fish and the occasional newt, we did not have any furry friends. I knew that with my teaching schedule and commuting to work from the city, I did not have the necessary time for a dog. But I was still nervous about how Whiskey and I would get along. Almost seven years later, he is my buddy and total sidekick. He is a cuddle monster and total attention seeker drama queen, just like his dad. Tonight he knew I was exhausted after a long pre-spring break week and helped me realize that he was the obvious choice for my writing prompt.
Tomorrow is the last day before spring break. It seems so close, but somehow this last day is such a huge hurdle. The last few weeks have been packed with rehearsals, concerts, observations, and so much more. Tomorrow is just a regular day. No rehearsals during lunch or after school. But for some reason, its feels like a large impending hill to climb. Maybe tomorrow will be over in a snap? Maybe not. Maybe I have never needed a spring break (or any break) more than this one?
I generally enjoy the rain, but only when I have nowhere to go. I love listening to the rain fall against the roof above my bedroom. Stormy summer nights are my favorite; hearing the thunder in the distance as it gets closer or farther away is so relaxing. The rain and the wind make for the perfect natural soothing noise machine.
Rain during the day, however, can be bothersome. I tend to pack my days with a back to back to back schedule; I need to get where I need to go in the fastest time possible. Which means, I drive like a racecar driver. And when it rains, other people do not drive like racecar drivers so everything just takes longer. Which is not the vibe. I think it is supposed to rain for the next two days, after raining all day today. The weather gods are trying to annoy me on these last few days before spring break. I will prevail.
As I have mentioned in past slices, I am directing this year’s (fully live and in person) production of Matilda the Musical Jr. based on Roald Dahl’s classic novel. The antagonist is a former Olympian turned headmistress and part-time physical education teacher. So of course there has to be a musical number based around P.E. and all the glory that comes with “The Smell of Rebellion.”
To be honest, the choreographer hat is one that I normally hand off the quickest and most happily. I can move, I have rhythm, I can even learn a dance routine or two, but I am not a trained dancer by any means necessary. I would not compare Matilda to a musical like A Chorus Line or 42nd Street that would require intense dancing, so between my blind confidence and some suggested choreography videos provided by the licensing company I took on the job.
It was actually a lot of fun to combine the suggested choreography with some of my own ideas. I have gone through my own fitness journey over the last two years, so incorporating some physical movements that I have grown to love (and hate) was a nice “connect the dots” moment for me. The kids were SWEATING by the end of rehearsal; and I would personally like to this moment to thank everything holy for the windows in my room that open.