Acting Insane

Some might think my friend and fellow actor, Glen Nelson Bristow, is a little nuts to have a full-time day job, be in stage plays almost year round, while also filmingGlen Nelson Bristow Rocky Horror Picture Show a web series, appearing in multiple short films, and doing stand up comedy sets at up to five venues a week. But he does it, and does it well. Check out my article about this dynamo at WhatcomTalk.com.

Writing in New Places

Happy New Year!

My 2015 is getting off to a great start. I’m delighted to be writing for a newer web site called WhatcomTalk.com. It’s a website focused on providing, “…an information source that reflects the community while adding a meaningful advertising platform for local businesses.” I get to write about my friends and their creative endeavors in Whatcom County. My most recent articles are about Ryan Shupe and Jake McNeely.

I’m also contributing to Playbell, a gateway to the Whatcom County Theatre scene, edited by Riley Penaluna. My first article is about my experience as an actor in the Idiom’s 48-Hour Theatre Festival.

???????????????????????????????(L to R) Thomas Beirne, Emily Lester, Daniel Ruiz, and Lorraine Wilde

If you have suggestions on subjects for future articles, or other websites that could use my writing skills, post it here or drop me a message.

Flying on a Tin Can Odyssey

When I was a kid, I wanted to go to NASA space camp so that I would have the best chance of becoming an astronaut someday. Although life has led me down a different path, I recently got the chance to play one…on the internet.

tin can I spent the early months of 2014 as Assistant Director and acting as Doctor Bernadette Hannegan in a hilarious web series about an international mission to Mars called Tin Can Odyssey. The series’ weekly 5-minute episodes aired on Youtube and are available now. Catch up on Season 1, because we’ll be shooting Season 2 this winter.

Although NASA is not what it used to be, real-life missions to Mars are occurring as we speak. But none of them are the ridiculous fun of Tin Can Odyssey.

You can follow my character on Twitter @doctorbernadett.

The Crossing Guide

I’m delighted to be writing freelance for a recently launched tourism-based publication, The Crossing Guide. I was pleased to cover for this quarter’s issue my experience with Mountain School at North Cascades Institute and all their fantastic environmental education and recreation programs, as well as the Lynden Pioneer Museum. Earlier this year I wrote about the 12th Annual Northwest birding festival in Blaine, WA, Wings Over Water. This publication is free and distributed throughout lower mainland British Columbia, Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and Snohomish Counties. Check it out when you get the chance.cropped-TCG_banner_redbckgrnd_tagline_free

 

On the Future of Education

As our collective intelligence grows–what we know as Americans, as humans, about ourselves, about this planet, this universe–how shall we manage the education of the masses?

Young EinsteinShould they be expected to know less, retain less, and do more, live more, because knowledge is now at their fingertips? Or should we instead aspire toward a populous of Einstein’s and Monet’s, of Shakespeare’s and Mandela’s? [For now, I’m choosing to ignore the future of greed.]

I’m not sure which is the correct path. One of self, the other humanity. Both worthy pursuits.

Yet, not one of these geniuses received the ideal education as defined by today’s standards.

I’ve had privileged academic opportunity and a challenging life. I spent much of my first 30 years studying, and the last 10 or so living. I’d like to think that my true education, my true wisdom, has come from balancing, from savoring both experiences.

We have many choices ahead, but how must we decide? To whom will we defer that judgment ? And to what end?

Book Review–“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”

A fellow parent loaned me the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, when I mentioned that I was struggling with my twin almost-tweens “I can’t” moments. It seemed that whenever things got hard, which was often, our attitude was getting in our way before we’d even begun to try. “I can’t” has lately been banished from our house just like swearing and spitting.

I found that a lot of other parents were also reading it. In the break room at my job as a para educator for the Bellingham School District, I discovered that most of the teachers had read it, and others throughout the district were incorporating this book’s ideals into their classroom learning environment. The main ideal of the book—to develop a “growth mindset” as opposed to a “fixed mindset” –was inspiring teachers to change the way they approached their students learning.

Written by Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychology Professor, the book uses a familiar self-help non-fiction format of real client and celebrity examples to illustrate how unproductive a fixed mindset—the personal belief that when we try and fail, we are just not good (or smart or….) enough—can be compared to a growth mindset, one that sees and feels failure as an exciting personal challenge that can be overcome with more effort. Dweck breaks the book conveniently into separate sections on sports, business, relationships (love and friendship), parenting, and of course, the final section on how the heck to change one’s mindset.

Common in this type of book, there were times when Dweck’s descriptions felt too black and white; we all are living in the grey space. But I found her view insightful and helpful. Simply by creating the awareness, by noticing our own moments stuck in the fixed mindset—about a tried and true argument with my husband, my boy’s struggle with the homework they hate, my friendship with a gal pal that just isn’t working for me anymore—I feel like I have a new tool in the box to tackle these frustrating moments rather than giving up and getting out the ice cream. I realized, to help my kids morph their mindset, I probably need to check in with my own.

Dweck covers the idea introduced in a bevy of other parenting books, that the devil is in the details of how we, as parents, approach praise and failure with our words and actions. She offers suggestions for common hurdles, like denial, entitlement, and precociousness. The author also developed a computer-based animated training called “Brainology™” that teachers and parents can use to increase kids self-mindset-awareness.

Mindset is definitely worth a skim to see where you and your family’s mindsets fall when dealing with challenge and failure, both big and small.

New Adventures

I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve been busy with…kids home for the summer,  enjoying the amazing Pacific Northwest outdoors, doing improv at The Upfront Theatre, acting in 48-hour Theatre festivals at the loveable Idiom Theatre, and starting a new project that I’m just dieing to share.

Family Planning and Other Stories, a TV pilot by the sharp Writer/Director Sue Mattson, will be filming in mid-October. Guess who’s in it? ME! I’m fortunate to be appearing (and learning a lot) in my role as Kat, a middle-aged mother who, upon encouragement from her volatile daughter Riley (played by the talented Sarah Waisman), heads into the unpredictable world of on-line dating.

The female-centered script is sharp and full of hilarious characters including Kat’s potential suitors, played by the talented Bill McQuaid and Michael Mitchell.

Check out our Indiegogo fundraising campaign for more details, and make a donation to help get this witty, playful project off the ground.

I also couldn’t help sharing this hilarious commercial starring the versatile Michael Mitchell in You Go Through Vladimir.

Help us get started at Indiegogo today, as there are only 23 days left to reach our $2000 goal. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting more insider details and photos here over the next couple of months.

Please comment here and tell me what you think.

Cheers to new adventures!