Ways I’m like my mom: performing

My mom inspired my love for the stage. When I was in grade school, she would direct our school plays and talent shows. Sometimes we would have a script, but most of the stuff was student led. My mom would start the rehearsals with improv games, and eventually we’d come up with sketches and dance routines as a group. I remember playing Cousin Itt in an Addams Family sketch, a mummy in a “Walk Like an Egyptian” dance routine, and one of the most feared nuns in my Catholic grade school’s history. The shows were silly, fun, and empowering for us kids since we played a major role in creating the sketches.

Before I was born and when I was very young, my mom was part of an improv troupe in Cincinnati. She told me recently that she was once in a scene where she pretended to be George Carlin’s pregnant mother parachuting from a great height. So now I know my first improv role: George Carlin as a fetus.

Something that has always impressed me about my mom is her ability to set people at ease. Even if she’s not performing in the traditional sense, she still has a way of entertaining a crowd with stories. I’m glad to be like her in that respect.

A photo of my mom from her improv days:


Me performing improv with my group Shark Party at the SweetWater 420 Fest:


Ways I’m like my mom: DIY bling

My mom loves shiny things. When I was in college, we both got into beading and made dangle earrings. We called them “man lures.” Lately, she’s been producing yard ornaments, decorative windows, and felted wool animals. She’s the queen of DIY bling. I’m grateful for the times we’ve gotten to work on projects together as well as the decorative gifts I’ve received from her.

My mom’s yard bling:yardbling

Her aquarium window:aquarium

A felted frog I made hanging out with a squirrel my mom made for me:woolpets

Ways I’m like my mom: love of the outdoors

My mom loves camping. We went a lot when I was growing up, mainly to places in Ohio where we would tent camp near our car. I remember being in awe of my mom’s ability to pitch a tent, start a campfire, and make delicious meals on a two burner propane stove.

Although we haven’t gone camping together in years, we have had the good fortune of visiting some of America’s most beautiful national parks recently including Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Last autumn, we visited Gatlinburg and took a short but steep hike to the top of Clingmans Dome. The views were gorgeous. While we were there, we also hiked a small section of the Appalachian Trail.

My mom really wants to take a backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail in the Shenandoah Valley region. I’ve never gone backpacking. The prospect scares me, but I hope I’m with her when she realizes this dream.




Ways I’m like my mom: plant photography

When I was a kid, my mom would often ask me to move out of frame when she was taking pictures of plants. I resented this as I did pretty much all forms of evidence indicating I was not the center of her universe, including my little sister. Now, I understand her impulse. I love capturing the beauty of flowers in photographs.

Here’s a few I took on a recent trip to Oakland Cemetery when my sister was visiting Atlanta. Note that I failed to take any pictures of her during this outing. It’s not because I’m still bitter about having to share my mother’s love. I swear.