Category Archives: Random or off the rails.

Come Fly with Us


A couple years ago, Gary and I began tossing around the idea of getting an RV so we could go see Evan (and now his wife Kamie!) in Phoenix for longish weekends without wearing out our welcome, and to get used to that kind of travel in hopes that someday we might travel around the country visiting all the people and places where we used to live–except England which is harder to drive to. And because we’re all about discovering new places, making new friends.

So we rented a few RVs to test out their features…and eventually decided we were more the motorhome coach type…especially when he took up powered para-gliding, which made storage more of a necessity than ever so we can take his rig along, and which also literally grew the minimum requirements of our vehicle.

So without further rambling, here she is, our 2014 Newmar Ventana!

The day we arrived for our walk-thru we had so many questions, but I’ll never forget that new RV smell. Our welcome sign at Holland RV, who knows how to treat their customers!

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When the three slides are out, it’s quite roomy!

IMG_2426We’re calling her “Flight Risk” — “Fly” for short. Vanity plates are ordered, but we had to go with “FLYRSK.” Yeah. Not because of bugs, let’s hope.


Our dinette…extends to seat six!


The photo is one of our favorites from Plantation Cottages on Kauai. Ahhh….(can’t drive there either.)

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IMG_2457We took Fly out for our first overnighter recently. Lots to learn still, and plenty of shopping to outfit her, but it’s going to be a fun journey!

More later, right now, gotta fly! (See what I did there?)

Bev out.




Top Five Reasons your kids should NOT watch the Olympics.

Photo courtesy of Clover Autrey – WANACommons

Here are the top 5 reasons it is a terrible idea to let your kids watch the Olympics. (If I’m too late, I apologize. Maybe you can reason with them before actually showing up to the gymnastics class they have already begged you to sign them up for.)

Let’s not go losing our heads over all this. (From

In reverse order, we will begin with # 5. You are busy. I know how much is on your plate. And if your kids find any encouragement to get involved in a sport from watching the Olympians, they will surely add to your already long to-do list. What’s more, the drives to practice and meets will mean you’ll spend lots of time together. Who needs that?

#4. It’s expensive. Lessons, uniforms, equipment, out of town meets? All this adds up.

If they do insist, try to steer them toward table tennis…experts predict the cost to get your kindergartener to the Olympics in this sport will total $100,000. Ping pong being one of the more>cough<affordable sports.

Equestrian in your family? Gulp. Try $400,000. If you need more of a reality check, this MSN article has some more staggering statistics that’ll have your calculator buzzing and your paddle spinning. Another article, one in The Daily Beast, lists the foreclosures, the financial hardships and even how Olympian’s parents sold everything and moved to be near the best training facilities and coaches for their little athletes. For more astounding numbers, check out this blog “Team Mom.” Who ARE these people?

Who needs a kid with this attitude?

#3. It can be SO disappointing. For every medal awarded, heck for every athlete that qualifies for the Olympics, thousands of others did not. Do you want your child to be the one left in the wake of greats like Michael Phelps?

My children tried out for sports teams, and auditioned for community theater, and I can tell you, there were plenty of disappointments, lots of tears shed when the cast list or play roster was posted. And my kids were upset once in a while too.

Once, our daughter was cast in a role where she may or may not have been required to wear a bucket on her head. But we didn’t let her turn it down, no sir. It was painful to watch, especially when the other cast members teased her, and even shunned her from sleepovers and similarly important rights of passage. But we insisted she continue wearing the bucket whimsical costume to the final curtain.

US gymnast Jordyn Wieber cries after failing to qualify for the women’s all-around finals in artistic gymnastics.
Image by Gregory Bull / AP

She learned an unforgettable lesson, and showed true character because in the very next show, she was cast as the lead. And I’ll never forget how she forgave the ones who’d teased her. Now that’s what a real leading lady acts like. Good sportsmanship can be learned anywhere.

Back to the Olympics. Do you think Jordyn regrets trying so hard?

But it looks so dang hard, Bev!

#2. The Variety is astounding, what if your child pick the wrong sport? Every year, the Olympic committee adds (and sometimes removes) sports.

I’ve had a heck of a time finding the curling competition. Anyone?

The 2012 Summer Olympics has 32 categories. From Archery to Wrestling. So if Jr. wants to try one and changes his mind…oh why bother? We all know how hard it is to get kids to stick with something.


Set up a system. For every season, let him try a new sport, until the end of the match season. Teach commitment… and then move on to something else, no harm no foul.

I grew up showing horses. Fell in love with them, dreamed, slept, ate, dressed and played horsey games. What a nerd cute kid I was. Of course I dreamed of competing in the Olympics. Even rode with the Brits for a season, and earned a couple of levels in the British Horse Society. Go me.

I also tried my hand, er…fist at volleyball. Meh. Not my game. I was even invited to try out for the college basketball team when I got lost in the gym one day. Turns out being 5’8″ will get you a personal invitation, directionally challenged or not.

But always back to the horses. Would I have loved to compete at the Olympic level? For sure.

(You do realize that male and female equestrians compete at the same level, and average the oldest of all the athletes. There may still be time for me, yet! Hey, honey!? Do we have a spare half a million lying $ around?)

Do I wish this was me? Oh, yeah. Do I regret my Olympic dreams? Heck NO!

But if you’re still not convinced, here’s the top reason you should turn off the games.

Drum roll, please because the top reason to give back that game controller and shut off the Olympics?

#1. Your children will get a global sense of the world, hence, they may want to travel, and you will miss them. Have you seen the hugs and high fives players exchange around the floor, stadium, court, track…whatever? And they are  from different countries?! These athletes are ambassadors, and their good sportsmanship (in most cases) demonstrate what it’s like to put aside our differences and experience humanity–face to face, ground level.


And I’ll bet you think the world can use a lot more of that. 

OK, you convinced me. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!






Whether you’re an extreme birder, or more chill (like me), then this is for you!

This hummer captured mid-beat appears to be in prayer.

If you’d rather grab the binoculars than the remote, trek through forests listening for songs on the breeze, you’re probably a birder.

Here’s Nikki!

I don’t know what came first with me, the photo opps, or the urge to always look up, but about the time we brought home Nikki (our Nikon D5100), I was inspired to begin bird watching (the trendier term includes listening, as well as looking.) The tamer, and more patient fellas in our southern California backyard begged for shooting, and the pursuit of capturing them–digitally of course, hooked me.

So in typical Bev fashion, I took the bull by the horns, or bird by the feathers as it were, and plunged into the sport, hobby, passion, call it what you will, of birding. But let’s not overdo it.

On a plane to Hawaii last summer, I had watched The Big Year, the movie based on the book by Mark Obmascik. In it, characters played by Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson vie for the highest count of species spotted in one year, forsaking jobs, relationships and a good bit of sanity to achieve the honor.

This excellent article in Birds and Blooms magazine explains the pursuit, the book and the guy whose story inspired the franchise.

We’re talking extreme birding here, y’all.

In the movie, they’d often dash within viewing distance, glance at the bird, then rush to catch a plane, boat or chopper to their next location to tick off another species.

Um, we won’t discuss some of the primitive living situations, which we all know is not going to happen with Bev. Check me into a Marriott, and cue the natives!

That’s the beauty of the hobby. Wherever you stay, live, play, the little critters are all around, and fascinating to watch.

Created with the ability to migrate millions of miles, care for their young in extreme conditions (think penguins), birds reflect the boundless imagination and sense of humor of our creator God.

What a gift He gave us, and we’d be remiss in not taking a little time to study and admire them.

If you’re ready to take the plunge, er, launch into birding, I posted an article that makes it easy-peasy to begin, “Ten Easy Tips to Begin Birdwatching by This Weekend,”available on Amazon. Don’t worry, no leave of absence required. Unless you want to!

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in south Texas

What are your favorite birds? Have you taken up a new hobby or sport lately?

I’d love to hear about it!



Click on the cover below to check out my Kindle article, and start exploring the world of birding. See you on the hunt!



Call me Becky…Beth…BARBARA! or, perhaps I should just join the CIA.

Go ahead, I can take it. I know I am…


Remember that scene in Beaches when Bette Midler slaps her husband during their wedding ceremony, and he says, “what gives?” and she says, “I don’t want you to ever forget this moment?” (My paraphrase.)

We joke that I should have joined the CIA (or apparently slap people) because you can’t teach the kind of forget-ability I live with.

Spy-Bev, Angelina style. Right....

Maybe you can relate.

But be heartened, as I am, because we are not alone. I believe that “forgettables” are the new “geeks.”

Until “The Middle” began airing, I was ashamed, embarrassed. Not anymore.

(More on the brilliant television show later. Have you watched it?)




I will explain more about the trendiness in a moment, but first here are some of my experiences.

I dare you to top them.

EXAMPLE ONE: I used to board my horse at a public stables. A couple of horses down from mine some rather friendly girls kept theirs, and we would see each other daily.

No matter how many times I reminded them, they would forget my name. Here’s how it went:

“Howdy, Beth!” (We were in Texas after all.)

“It’s Bev. Or Beverly. Either one. Not Beth.”

Next day: “Hiya, Becky”


Next day: “How are you Barbara?”


Finally, one day I had a bad attitude.

“How was your ride today, Belinda?”

No response. Then I overheard this:

“What’s the matter with Becky?”

“I don’t know. Probably just a snob.”


EXAMPLE TWO:  Here’s one you may or may not relate to, but still makes me laugh. Mostly.

Despite wearing a very prominent name tag with a huge, embarrassing picture from our annual, at our ten year high school reunion, my Freshman year steady boyfriend did not remember me until MIDNIGHT. (Most of the attendees never did remember me, even when I reminded them of the “carrot dress.” I TOLD you I was Sue.)

Old Whatsername (lips firmly drawn over braces)

Still not convinced?

EXAMPLE THREE:  More recently >ahem< I was in the green room working a show at our community theater. I had been there EVERY day since we moved in, more or less about two weeks, rubbing elbows with a cast of…twelve people.

For some reason, the fact that I am FORGETTABLE became the topic of convo. One of the cast members, whom I had worked with before, and pretended to remember me, said “pish-posh, how can anyone forget you, Brenda!?” (Eeesh.)

I kid you not, the next week, I spoke to him in the theater courtyard and not only did he NOT remember me, but he offered to sign an autograph.

I know what you’re thinking. Maybe he’s a little self-absorbed. Perhaps you’re right. So here is one more. This one’s even better.

FINAL EXAMPLE: For seven years, I worked in a behind-the-scenes ministry at church. (Maybe there’s a pattern…backstage, behind-the-scenes?) Anywho, monthly, I would see  a very nice gentleman in these meetings of a very small group of people. Face-to-face…mere feet away. Recently, we began visiting another church. Guess who preceded us? Yep. Did he remember me? Nope. Last time I saw him? Mere months ago. Over it. Not his fault.

It is me. If forgettability was a superhero power, I would own it.


At least knowing I am not alone, and one of the most popular characters on television is based on my experiences, helps.

When “The Middle” started airing, I immediately related to Sue Heck.

I am Sue. Sue is Bev.

Eden Sher (Sue Heck in "The Middle")

Enjoy this montage clip of…what’s her name again?

Sue Never Gives Up

By the way, the young actress, Eden Sher,  is brilliant in this part, and did NOT ask me for pictures, or my experiences.  Although come to think about it, she must have contacted my mother for research. (Thanks, mom.)

 No, I will not show you a picture of the “carrot dress.” Although if you imagine a giant embroidered carrot instead of Sue’s strawberry…you get the idea.

Maybe it’s just as well they forgot.




What do Playmobil, a rubber chicken, and theatre have in common?

This week I’m focusing on a passion that makes its way into the pages of my fiction; live theater. I’ve acted, ushered, worked on costumes, and fundraised, but my favorite job–probably for the sheer creativity and challenge–was as props mistress and set decorator.

So let’s go backstage!

Besides the obvious bonuses of escape and entertainment, theater offers a sense of community, shared experiences, revenue for local retailers, income for services and craftspersons. Regional productions can contribute to  education, and even help with the preservation of local history.”Horn in the West,” the longest running play about The Revolutionary War, began in 1952.

Even if you’ve never worked “in the back in the black,” as it’s called, you know if there wasn’t someone with serious intestinal fortitude, patience and organization in charge from the get-go, chaos would ensue.

I find the daring individuals who choose to captain the ship of production to be fascinating, and inspiring. Usually in the face of insurmountable odds, thin budgets, challenging scripts, (dare I mention emotional actors?),  a theater director must plan, coordinate, budget, audition, cast, rehearse, design…well, you get it.

That said, I’d like to introduce you to Jeremy Scott Lapp, a gifted director on the cusp of a brilliant career, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on several shows. And yes, he has the stuff, has already proven himself in regional theater, and most recently on Broadway.

I’ve asked Jeremy to tell us what it takes to be a director, and how he chose the career…or did the career choose him?

Jeremy Scott Lapp

Jeremy is a recipient of Noel Craig, Inland Theatre League, Patté, National Youth Theatre, Billy and Director’s Choice awards. When not directing, he runs a freelance graphic design business specializing in theatrical design and advertising.

An alumnus of the 2009 Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab West, Jeremy is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers (SDC) and earned a 2011 selection as a SDC Emerging Artist. Recent projects include Assistant Director on the World Premiere Musical, A Room With A View at the Old Globe in San Diego, and a workshop of the new musical, Secondhand Lions! He also directed a workshop of a new musical based on Peter Pan that was selected to be part of the ASCAP/Dreamworks Musical Theatre Workshop with Stephen Schwartz. 

From a recent review: “When Director J. Scott Lapp takes the helm of a theater production, audiences had best grab their tickets early and quickly. After such local directorial successes as ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ and ‘RENT’, it is a near certainty that Lapp will find a way to enchant and entertain theater-goers.” – Kerri Mabee / Southwest Riverside News

Fresh Start Stories: Welcome, Jeremy!

Jeremy Scott Lapp: Thanks, Bev!

FSS: How did you originally get involved in theater?

JSL: I grew up in a very musically appreciative family. My mom taught fun and fitness at my preschool, and included music in her curriculum. I would bring buckets of costumes from home and direct my fellow preschoolers in shows that we would perform for open house. My grandparents were huge musical theatre aficionados, and had season tickets to the Starlight Bowl every summer where they started taking me when I was one and a half years old. My grandpa built a miniature stage for me, and I would re-enact the shows I would see at Starlight with my Playmobil  people. My mom signed me up for a theatre summer camp when I was 5 years old, and from there I started taking classes and doing shows. I guess you could say it was meant to be.

 FSS: Besides every show we ever worked on together >cough< what has been your favorite?

JSL: Every show I work on is different and has a special set of circumstances and a new group of people. That’s what so amazing about this profession; you get to create a new family every two to three months when starting a new project! And it’s hard to say goodbye at the end, because during the process of creating together you grow close like a family.

That being said, two of my most favorite projects were Bonnie & Clyde and 13. I began working on Bonnie & Clyde 4 years ago in a small rehearsal studio in New York where we were doing a workshop of the show. From there, we premiered the show at the La Jolla Playhouse ( in the fall of 2008, then took the show to the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota, Florida and finally landed on Broadway in December of 2011. It was such a special experience because of how close we all got working on the show! The entire artistic team and many of the leads remained with the show from the beginning. 13 was another favorite of mine. It’s a show about teenagers and the aches and pain of growing up and dealing with peer pressure and first kisses. We had an all-star cast working on that show, every single person was so dedicated and it was just a pleasure to work on! We even had Jason Robert Brown who wrote the music & lyrics, and Robert Horn who wrote the book (the story part) come down to the closing performance of the show! They came backstage after the show and met with the cast.

FSS:  How did you decide to make the transition to director?

JSL: I’m not sure growing up that I ever had the desire to become a Director. Although, I think my parents might tell you differently, and now looking back many years later, there were some hints that you could definitely point to. I grew up as a performer, singing and dancing in shows from the time I was 5 to 18. I did over a hundred shows all over Southern California with various theatre companies, sang and danced in multiple sing-along videos, and performed at different theme parks across the U.S. It wasn’t until I got the opportunity to direct my first show that I started to think about becoming a director. I even ended up going to school for graphic design, while I continued to direct on the side. In the spring of 2007, I made the decision to really pursue directing musical theatre as a career and I haven’t looked back since.

FSS: Do you prefer directing straight theater or musicals? What’s the difference?

JSL: In a drama, there is no singing and dancing, and the spoken word takes the lead in setting the dramatic action of the story. In a musical, once the dialogue gets to a certain point, and the actor can no longer talk, they sing. More and more though, the line between what makes a musical, and a drama is being blurred. There are plays currently on Broadway that have singing in them. I worked on a show last fall at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego (, called Somewhere that had music and dancing woven throughout the piece. I prefer working and directing musicals, but I would love to work on more straights as well.

FSS: How would you suggest someone who has never experienced live theater decide which type is for them, and how would they go about finding local performances?

JSL: Just go. Don’t worry about deciding which type. Get out and support live theatre. There is nothing like it, because for those two hours, you are experiencing something that will never be reproduced the same way.  Sure there will be another performance the next evening, but for those two hours with those 1,000 people, it’s an experience unlike anything else. And don’t be concerned that theatre is too expensive for you, there are tons of deals and websites that sell discounted tickets! Most theatre companies sell rush tickets, or student priced seating. And then there are websites like ( and ( that sell discounted tickets to theatre shows! To see upcoming shows, check the arts section in your local newspaper or on their websites!

The billboard for Bonnie & Clyde in Times Square. Opened on Broadway at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, December 1, 2011.

FSS: How can an audience member get the best experience possible?

JSL: Theater is different for everyone, that’s why there is so much variation. You can go to New York and on Broadway alone, you can see up to 30 different shows at a time. And that doesn’t include the Off-Broadway scene where that number jumps to over 200 different theatrical productions. To get the best experience possible, do your research and know what the show is about. Google it, YouTube it. In this age of technology, you can go online and find out almost anything about a show. As an active theatregoer myself, I attend multiple shows every week. Going that often, you see various levels of quality and you begin to learn what you do and don’t like.

FSS: Besides taking the story from page to stage, what do you hope to do when you envision a show?

JSL: When I begin work on a show, I always try and put myself in the shoes of the audience. As a director, you HAVE to learn how to read a room, listen to it breathe, and know when and how to make the hard decisions. You have to learn how to entertain, keep the audience’s attention, and know when and how to move on. I always try and think as an audience member. What is distracting, where do I lose interest, what could be changed to be more interesting to watch. All of these factors come into play when directing a show.

FSS: How does your faith inform your profession?

JSL: My faith plays a huge importance not only in my daily life but also in my work. I have spoken with and met many artists over the years and the thing I constantly hear, is how hard it is to go thru this business where you have to find your own way and constantly take criticism at every turn. I can’t fathom working in this industry without my faith and the knowledge that there is something bigger and more important guiding my way. Having that “someone” on your side, who always has your best interests at heart and is guiding you is the best possible agent I could ever ask for. We live in a big world with so much diversity.

As a Christian working in the business, you can’t isolate yourself in a Christian bubble. We are going to have to deal with all kinds of situations and people if we don’t have an open heart, how can we ever expect to know how to help others in their time of need? The best testimony I can be is to live and act with that knowledge, and let others notice that there is something different about me.

The Design board and building plans for the Bonnie & Clyde set at the La Jolla Playhouse.

FSS: You have meticulous show notes going into production. But you also allow your creative team freedom to make suggestions. How do you determine what goes, and what stays?

JSL: Well, that’s the best part about this business. The collaboration. I’ll spend months working on a show before meeting with the other members of the team, meticulously plotting out every little detail and how certain scenes will be staged. Then you get to the first day of rehearsal and you meet (depending on the size of the show) 10-30 more collaborators. And the thing I always say in that first rehearsal is that “I like to think of the rehearsal room as a playground. We are all here in this room to play, try things out and love and support each other as we do.” In the rehearsal room, the best idea always wins. I am looking to present the material in the most truthful and entertaining way, and quite often, an actor will have an insight to their own character that I never thought of. Or if I had, I make it seem like they thought of it first.

When I worked with children's theater, I carried a rubber chicken to demonstrate what a hand-carried prop was. Eventually, it became my mascot, and the coolest directors would find a place for him onstage. Sometimes the audience could even see him!

FSS: You mean like the rubber chicken I always tried to get onstage?

JSL: >laughs< Yeah, Bev. Like that.

FSS: Will we ever see you auditioning and performing again?

JSL: I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back onstage again. I love the creative process so much, and building a world where others can shine, I haven’t really missed the performing side of theatre. I suppose if the right part came up at the right time in my life, I would consider doing a show again. But for now, you’ll find me in the back of the theatre watching the audience enjoy the performances.

FSS: What’s your favorite moment in the process of putting together a production? 

JSL: I have two favorite moments, and they just happen to bookend the entire process of putting on a show. The first part is those initial weeks leading up to auditions where you get to sit with the script and create and design a world for the action to take place in. The options are endless and it’s so incredibly fun to dream big and imagine the possibilities.

My other favorite part of the process is tech, near the end of the rehearsal process where you move into the theatre for the first time and start to integrate costume, sets and lights. It tends to be a very stressful part of the process, but it’s so gratifying to see everything start to come together. The ideas and drawings from late night meetings in a coffee shop are now in front of you in a fully realized way. I am very blessed to be working in my dream job.

FSS: Live theater has become more widespread, with more communities offering decent productions at higher and better quality. Why do you think we’re seeing increased interest?

JSL: I think with all the negativity in the news and how hard things are right now, people are just looking for an escape. And I think live performances allow people to get away and just enjoy themselves for a couple hours. Sure musicals can be silly when people talking to one another stop in the middle of a sentence and begin to sing. But musicals are meant to entertain, to enlighten and provoke discussion, and yeah, sometimes they are a little ridiculous, but I guarantee you’re gonna walk away smiling a little!

FSS: Are you thinking of writing a musical yourself? If so, can we know what it’s about?

JSL: It’s funny that you ask, I am currently in the process of collaborating on a couple of brand new projects. There’s something extremely satisfying and ultimately terrifying about building a show from scratch. Luckily, I have teamed up with some talented writers and we are playing around with some ideas. I can’t say much about them at this point in their development, but we are working on them and will start doing some developmental workshops in the near future. There might even be one that pops up later this year in a workshop out in New York.

FSS: Tell us about your current projects.

JSL: I am currently producing and directing a new Cabaret project. I have teamed up with Jordan Beck, a Producer/Lyricist from Riverside, California and we have just signed a yearlong contract to produce Cabaret at The Merc. The last Sunday of every month we will be bringing the very best of Broadway to beautiful Old Town Temecula. We are excited to present ‘Sondheim Unplugged’ a completely original, acoustic journey through the musical of Sondheim for our first month! The exciting thing about this show is, it’s starting in Riverside at the Caffeinated Cabaret on Sunday, May 20 then moving down to Cabaret at The Merc on Sunday, May 27 and finally landing in Hollywood at The Coterie at the Hollywood Renaissance on June 2! We have a great team working on the show, and a great line-up of Broadway and Professional talent! You can buy tickets for the Temecula performance by following the link (

FSS: What’s next?

JSL: After the final performance of Sondheim Unplugged in June, I will leave immediately for the great Northwest, where I am directing a production of Footloose this summer. The show goes up in the middle of August and I am looking forward to collaborating with my sister ( again. She recently won an Inland Theatre League Award for her choreography in our production of Fine Art Network’s 13. After Footloose, there are a number of other projects in the works.

(Pictured: Jeff Calhoun (Director) and J.S.L at the cast recording of the Original Broadway Cast Album of Bonnie & Clyde. Jeff was recently nominated for Best Direction at the Tony Awards for his work on the new Disney musical Newsies.)



FSS: How do we follow your career?

JSL: There are a number of ways. The best is to check out my website, there you can see upcoming projects and galleries of images from past shows, even some video. Facebook is another great way to keep track of things, and you can follow me at ( or if you tweet, follow me @JScottLapp for updates of 140 characters or less! Ha

FSS: Any parting comments?

JSL: Thanks for taking the time to read, and a special thanks to Beverly Nault for reaching out to me for this interview! Support live theatre, go see a show!

FSS: You’re quite welcome, and thanks for your time, Jeremy. Break a leg!

(No rubber chickens were harmed in the making of this blog.)