A Month in the Life

Writer’s note: I wrote 86% of this blog last weekend (no, 86% is not an arbitrary estimation), but only just got around to finishing and posting it.  Hence my decision to change the “published on” date from July 24 (today) to July 19.


I have two and a half weeks left in Colorado, and I’ve only blogged about the first day.  That’s not good.  What’s even worse is that first phrase, I have two and a half weeks left in Colorado.  I advised a fellow intern of mine not to start counting the days yet, but I’m guilty of doing it too.

I don’t want to say goodbye.  11 months ago, I traipsed around the Focus campus, camera in hand, photographing everything photographable in the parking lot.  That week was a mountaintop experience in every sense of the word, and I was loath to so suddenly trade the sights and sounds of Colorado for… Kansas.  And Indiana.

That’s all very close to how I feel now, with a few key differences.  Then, I was in the audience.  Now, I am behind the curtain, soaking up every drop I can and trying to create a few memorable ones of my own.  But even without the Odyssey aspect, I am going to miss Colorado Springs.  I have finally found my kindred spirits in the “introvert table” of interns, and will miss them… not to mention the great people in my department.  I have truly felt welcome here.

I still haven’t gotten over my wide-eyed awe that I’m actually here.  And yet, being in this unique position has given me a different perspective on Odyssey fandom.  Let’s see if I can explain.  There is so much we fans don’t know about the behind-the-scenes of Adventures in Odyssey.  Often, we can only speculate.  I love hearing others’ opinions on the show, but it bothers me when people make assumptions or judgments before they know the whole story.  Going from drawing board to radio, or to website, or to store shelf, isn’t as simple and cut-and-dried a process as some people seem to think.  There are more links in the chain than we know.  Adventures in Odyssey is entertainment-with-a-message, run by people who care about making the show the best it can be.   If only the people who get riled up over changes to the show would care as much for the people behind it… would pray for the actors and the staff (who, even if this is their dream job, have times of stress just like the rest of us), and would not join with the tabloids in assuming the worst.

Lizzie: Okay, now I’m going to step off my soapbox and switch gears.
Eugene: You just mixed your metaphors.
Lizzie: Oh, be quiet, Eugene.

A Day In The Life:

6:20: I drag myself out of bed.  I’m still not used to such early risings – they make it so I can’t remember my dreams, leaving me only with the sensation of having dreamed something very strange.   Last night, however, I dreamed out an entire LOST season 6 finale, and it was rather lame.  So maybe it’s best if I don’t remember my dreams.

7:30ish: Off to work!  Now that I no longer am picking up Laura, a fellow intern, it’s just a matter of time before my subconscious realizes that 7:30 isn’t cutting it close and I start leaving later.

8:00: Arrive in the Audio Drama department, drop my armful of stuff on my desk, and check my email.  If I had been writing this blog a week ago, I would’ve said “fast walk into the Audio Drama department a minute or two after 8,” but, thankfully, I’ve done a better job of being on time lately.

8:10: Meet in the war room, or in one of the sound designers’ studios for department devos, or, on Wednesdays, the glassed-in viewing room for the broadcast tapings in the Administration Building for departments devos (yeah, I know that room has a name, but I can’t remember what it is).  “Devos” sometimes consists of just talking over what we’ve been working on or how our personal lives are going, but whether we’re simply catching up with each other or learning spiritual truths from Steve Jobs, it’s always a great way to start the day.

8:45 (or later): 1, 2, 3, break!  Everyone returns to their cubicles or offices to commence the day’s work.  We interns in the Audio Drama/Book Publishing room have been playing musical cubicles almost since day 1, due to the particular demands of certain projects.  I’ve moved into cubicle #2, and while I enjoy having two computers, I won’t mind when the time comes to return to my first one, which is closer to the rest of the Odyssey team.

We usually have enough solo projects to occupy us, though sometimes Nathan pokes his head in to ask my opinion on something, or to talk about the latest draft of my episode ideas (*shudder*), or to come collect me for a podcast recording session.  But even when I’m in my cubicle all morning, I’m never bored. Tired sometimes, but not bored.

12:00: Lunchtime!  (or 11-1 on Wednesdays, when all the interns gather together to eat special food and watch an episode of the Truth Project (and by special, I mean non-cafeteria-but-ordered-out-food.))  Thursday is pizza day, but even when we’re deprived of that delicious delicacy, there’s usually something fairly good… for cafeteria food, at least.  When worse comes to worst, well, there’s always the ice cream machine, which overflows with some of the best soft serve ice cream I’ve ever tasted.  When it, um, works.

Other than the food itself, though, I also enjoy the lunch hour for its socializing aspects.  Even when the wind is blowing our food away or we’re wishing the wind would blow in some other food, it’s nice to take a break from work and chill with the other members of the “introvert table.”  Or everyone, depending on the day.  We’ve only eaten in Whit’s End once, but I’m eagerly anticipating our return – I still haven’t gone down the slide or recorded my own episode yet!  (Well, okay, I went down the slide last year.  But that was last year!)

1:00: Back to work!  Everyone, back to work!  We often wind up standing in a circle in the Chapelteria as our final moments of freedom drift away.  Once, someone wondered aloud how long we could pretend we were praying before people started to suspect we were just shirking work.  A long time, we decided.  But fortunately for Jonathan and me, we don’t dread going back to work.

The afternoon has about the same rate of unpredictable predictability as the morning, and…

5:00: …usually arrives much sooner than I’d expected.  Gather up my belongings (most of which remained untouched during the day) and waltz out to my car, the beloved Yipo.

6:00: I almost never arrive home before 6.  Then I have just four short hours of dinner, running, and/or bonding time with the ol’ computer before I have to go to bed and get ready to do it all over again the next day!

11:30: Well, okay, I should go to bed at 10, but I almost never do.

More Highlights:

LizzieG Meets ToOers

I got to meet a member of the Town of Odyssey website during my second week.  What could be better than sipping WodFamChocSods with a fellow fan?  Meeting Nathan Hoobler and Dave Arnold, of course!  So I introduced him to those venerable personages, and it was a memorable day.  Yes.

Rock Climbing

Unfortunately,  I have no pictures to document this momentous occasion, but I am proud to say that last week I went rock climbing for the first time ever, and climbed a 5.9 route!  For those of you who don’t know what that means, allow me to enlighten you: rock climbing with ropes and harnesses begins at 5.0.  Each percentage point higher indicates a route twice as hard as the one before it (i.e. 5.3 is twice as hard as a 5.2).  The hardest routes are 5.15.  And not only did I climb a 5.9+, but I even made it to the top completely unaided (of course, we won’t count the times Nathan told me from the ground where to step next)!

It was exhilarating to try something so new with a hint of danger, and not only try, but succeed!  I’m looking forward to going climbing again, though next time I plan to be armed with a camera… and an alert mind to catch all the brag-worthy facts about the rock in question.

Being Whit.  And Connie.

Last Saturday, Jonathan and I had the opportunity of dressing up in the Whit, Connie, and Sherman costumes and thereby adding an extra dose of funness to the Focus on the Family Yard Sale.  We walked around the parking lot and Whit’s End, hugging and high-fiving kids or, in the case of Connie, scaring them.  Just wearing the costumes was an adventure in itself, however – you don’t know what it’s like before you’ve experienced it for yourself.  The fat suits, the ice vests, the head fans, the head that wouldn’t stay upright, the lack of oxygen… good times, good times, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

“We were supposed to go to the zoo on Monday.” *tear*

I had this line stuck in my head all day. Happily, though, Jonathan, Kim, and Laura did not “die” and deprive me of a once-in-a-lifetime zoo experience.   And it was Saturday, not Monday.

The four of us went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and saw just about every animal there.  Highlights included feeding the giraffes giraffe crackers (they have very long tongues! (the giraffes, not the giraffe crackers)), watching the grizzly bear emerge from behind its rock hiding place, and having an Aslan-Prince-Caspian moment with a tiger – you remember when Lucy sees Aslan but no one else does?  Well, this tiger had a forested area in which to live, and I happened to glance over and see him standing among the grass and trees near a waterfall.  The lack of visible fencing and the fact that I was seeing him unexpectedly (and did I mention the forested environment and the waterfall?) reminded me of that moment in Prince Caspian.

We walked, we drove up to the Shrine of the Sun, we listened to Disney music, we saw a Hawaii license plate, we saved orangutans, we didn’t bring our teddy bears, we took pictures, we had a good day.

~*~

I have said more than once that I would love to live in Colorado.  Recently, however, I have been seriously considering moving here after I graduate.  I love Colorado – it’s a beautiful, activity-saturated state mostly second-to-none (c’mon, I gotta retain a little loyalty for my California), and would be a perfect place to start being an adult.

I’m not too excited to return to school in just a little over a month and greet my old enemies, Motivation Monger and Procrastination Phil, but I am grateful to have another year to ponder and plan for the future, and to spend too much time with friends before the inevitable parting.

So there you have it – past, present, and future.

“It’s A Place Everyone Oughtta See”

I just arrived in Colorado Springs, having been delayed in the Denver airport for almost two weeks due to a freak June snowstorm that kept me from communicating with the outside world!

Except, not.

I did pull an all-nighter that last night home. I never want to, but that’s what always seems to end up happening on the eve of long trips. Particularly the 30,000 foot variety. I would call it a semi-grueling first day, with a fully-functioning autopilot and a one-track mind that pled for sleep while preventing either nervousness or excitement from reigning. But I was glad to be there, there at the edge of the West, with the mountains so close and Odyssey-land less than 10 miles away!

The house I’m staying at is a very nice one, with a beautiful view of the city and the mountains from my bedroom window. My host family is nice too; they’re an elderly couple who apparently have been housing interns under their roof for quite a while. While eating dinner with them that first night, they mentioned past interns they’d hosted, including “the guy from Calgary, who worked with that radio drama, what was it called?”

My ears pricked up at this. “Was his name Corey?” I asked immediately.

It was, of course. I explained briefly how I knew him, much to their surprise and amazement, and promised to pass along their greetings.

That evening, I toiled over my three overflowing suitcases and managed to get everything stowed away, tucked in a corner, or stacked on a dresser, much to the soothing of my order-loving soul.  I fell asleep easily, despite the lack of air-conditioning.  I found out later that my room is one of the warmest in the house. Had I still been living in the red-hot heat of northern California, that would’ve been a cause for alarm.  Thankfully, though, Colorado’s temperatures aren’t quite so extreme, and I have pleasantly survived.

Tuesday began at 7 am.  For once, I overcame my all-too-pervasive  tardiness and arrived at the Focus headquarters right on time. The powers that be decided that my first hour would be best spent learning about the history and mission of Focus on the Family, so on the main tour I went, where I not only gave the correct answer to the one Odyssey trivia question (“How did Odyssey get its name?), but was apparently the first person in my tour guide’s experience to get the line word-for-word.

I saw the same push-pin-decorated maps, went up the same grand staircase, and heard the same facts that I was treated with last August. It really is a rather ordinary tour, but the ties that bind me to these unmistakable buildings, set in a rich landscape of green and mountain, inspire thrills in even the most commonplace of routines. Seeing that Chapelteria again, though empty and without the whispers of future treasures, brought back the beauty and the unquenchable joy of last year. If you’re perfectly still, you can hear the soft strains of that music, not easily forgotten, that thousands of eager hearts and fulfilled dreams couldn’t help but bring. It’s rich with memory… memory that I can almost touch. -my journal

After the tour, I finally met Ida Hoffman, the volunteer coordinator with whom I had communicated the most during and since the application process began back in January. The next step was getting my badge and officially becoming part of the system. It should’ve taken less than a minute to get my picture taken, but apparently someone had logged out of that particular program, and no one knew the password to get back in. Twenty minutes, four security guys, and a couple of phone calls later, I was finally outfitted with my new plastic “necklace.” But at least now we have the beginning of a joke! – “How many security guys does it take to take a picture?”

After filling out some paperwork and meeting a few more people, Nathan Hoobler arrived to escort me to the Audio Drama department which, for an Odyssey fan such as myself, was mere footsteps from heaven. The last time I had talked with Nathan had been when he autographed my Official Guide almost a year ago. Meeting him and some of the other “men behind the curtain” had been a surreal experience in 2008… but was the curtain really rising now to admit me – me! – an adoring fan?

My first act as an intern was to sit in on a meeting with Nathan, Dave Arnold, and Paul McCusker. Of course, I can’t relate much of what happened during that meeting, other than that I enjoyed Paul and Dave’s senses of humor (while simultaneously being awestruck by their very presence), and that I need to see Up at my earliest convenience.

Following the meeting, Nathan told me everything there is to know about everything… that is, as it related to what I would be doing this summer. They’re definitely going to keep me busy!

…and I can’t wait.

~*~

Keeping up with three separate written accounts at the same time isn’t an easy thing to do.  There’s the school-commissioned journal of my internship, the existence of which is still debatable; my sturdy-looking(-but-don’t-be-fooled-cuz-it’s-from-Wal-Mart) journal, which is currently clocking in at a hefty 16 pages for the first week; and this intangible-yet-attractive blog.  The goals of each are different enough that I can’t very well combine them into one:

  • School journal: Write about what I’ve learned and experienced, the integration of these “real world” experiences with what I’ve learned in school, my pros and cons related to this field, interpersonal challenges, and the ever-popular “integration of faith and learning.”
  • My journal: A no-holds-barred account of everything, including (but not limited to) the following: descriptions that wax eloquent, top secret information, and a fairly chronological telling of all that’s happened, particularly at work.
  • This blog: A less detail-oriented account than my journal, and with the classified stuff removed, capturing “the spirit of the internship, not the letter of the internship,” and complete with interestingly-told funny and memorable moments.

More soon!