9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
I'm just gonna be a bit random on this one.
In no particular order*:
1 - Walt Disney. Because of Mr. D I have lots of treasured memories, a well-stocked DVD collection, some of my best friends in life, full photo albums, and unrealistic expectations about love. I also have a near-constant desire for a churro. Influential.
2 - Bob Martin. He's the guy who wrote the musical "The Drowsy Chaperone." He inadvertently influenced my life in a very big way. Because of his writing I had one of the most amazing experiences of my entire life on stage. I subsequently also moved to Los Angeles where I recently filmed a commercial for the one and only Old Navy - basically all because of Bob. If that's not influence, I don't know what is. But seriously, being in "Drowsy" was a pivotal experience for me and it will always hold a special place in a frame on my wall. (and in an over-sized, crocheted-afghan-covered chair in a tiny warm corner of my heart)
3 - My aunt Mary Ann. Among so very many other things (being a stellar teacher, parent, and all-around person), she taught me to tuck in the sleeves of my under-shirts when I roll them up while folding laundry. Makes for a much cleaner underwear drawer.
4 - Whoever invented brownies. Seriously.
5 - Ruth and Nathan Hale. I never met them, but I've heard amazing things. From what I understand they started this little family-friendly theater in Glendale (which is still there) and expanded their empire to include several other theaters in a couple of other states. Some of the absolute happiest times in my life were spent at the West Valley Hale. I met some unbelievably amazing people there, and really just can't describe the influence that place had on me. It's basically my home. Thanks Hales!
6 - My friend Molly. Each of my friends has influenced me in some way, but for some reason Molly popped right into my head when I read this. And I think the reason is something she probably doesn't even realize she does. Aside from the many praise-worthy virtues I could extol ad-nauseum, I mostly remember that whenever we go anywhere she treats everyone she talks to like they deserve every courtesy and every ounce of human kindness one can muster. Always. It's rather inspiring.
7 - My High School Arts Triumvirate. Yep, I gave them a title. I couldn't pick which one to write about, so I'm including all three. Mrs. Street, Mr. Bird, and Benj. Drama, Band, and Speech respectively. These three stellar educators really shaped who I am today. They helped me build my confidence, tap into my talents, learn how to work for worthwhile things, love the arts etc. etc. etc. I was lucky to be instructed by all of them and am where I am today because of the foundation they set. I should send them all a thank-you card...
8 - There was this tiny little old lady I met in Argentina. I forget her name, but she would play this song on tape and the culminating phrase was, "Lazaro, Lazaro, Lazaro, lenvantate!" (Lazarus, Lazarus, Lazarus, Rise!**). With corresponding ascending chords and such. Whenever I'm feeling a little down and need a reason to smile I think of that. It was a peppy little tune and just so funny to me.
9 - Becca. She gave me hope. And because of her I now eat the entire apple every time - core and all.
10 - Jesus Christ. Sometimes I'm a little reticent to say things like that in a public forum for whatever reason. But lately I've been trying to be better at letting my faith become more of a core part of my life - something that's just a natural, daily part of me. So honestly, Jesus Christ has been the single biggest influence on my life, my happiness, my trajectory, everything. He gives me hope and lifts me up even when I probably don't deserve it, and despite my occasional bouts of wavering.
*There are TONS of people I could have put on this list, but I had to pick 10. Just because you don't see your name here doesn't mean you haven't influenced me. I tried to be a bit unexpected.
**Or "Rise up!" or "Come forth!" or however else you want to translate it.