My very first lunch of the year with one of my best friends, Nina.
Now, you would think if she’s my best friend, I would see her a lot. You would be wrong. Nina recently moved to New Jersey with her family and has been quite busy getting her house in order. She also has an almost 2 year old and a hands-on career keeping her occupied. Hence, no time for me. But we managed to carve out some time for each other on New Year’s Day. Her husband, Tucker cooked us a delicious meal that we shared with her daughter, my husband and my twinsies. It was hard to carry on a conversation while chasing after toddlers but we managed to do it.
Every lunch, I’m going to ask my dining companion the same 5 questions. They are pretty simple, innocuous questions but I feel like they revel a lot about the person and their relationship to me.
How do we know each other?
Mama Gena’s School of the Womanly Arts, baby! Class of 2010. We were in a class called “Mastery” together although we didn’t really meet then. We both decided to attend the advanced course called “Inner Circle” which is when we really got to know each other.
What do you do?
I am Miss Nina, a singer/songwriter/entertainer for young children and their families.
I entertain at private playgroups, birthday parties, sing-alongs, concerts and events solo or with my band Miss Nina & The Jumping Jacks.
I have a predilection for putting books to music, and also produce, edit and “star” in the Miss Nina Weekly Video Show on Youtube and my website.
Why do you do it?
Don’t know how succinctly I can put this into words….but I am a passionate advocate of childhood and the feelings and rights of young children. I had some difficult experiences when I was very young that had a lasting impact and effect on me. I remember my feelings being discounted and disrespected during those events,even though I was voicing them – and to this day, as a result, I feel a connection and empathy with young children in this way. My early experiences left me struggling with some chronic fears and anxiety throughout my childhood – and the only things that would get me out of my head and fear was dancing and music.
Although my original pursuit was a career in Dance and Musical Theatre…I loved working with kids. And I found the power of music to make them feel safe and connected….and it made for a lot of fun.
I also found that when I was creating music, fun and movement with kids and families I lost all of the self-consciousness that I typically got overcome with when performing for my peers and other adults. Which was amazing. I felt free.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Typical answer was “A dancer-singer-actress” – but mainly a dancer. I danced, all the time. Everywhere. Although when I was 5 or 6 I would don sunglasses and tell you that I want to be “A Star, baby.
What’s something I don’t know about you?
Did you know that I co-starred in a film called Birdhouses that won “Best Short Film” at the Ithaca Film Festival and Idaho’s Spudfest in 2004?
Or that I wrote a column called The Virgin Read for my husbands blog, The Factual Opinion, for several years and the two of us were dubbed the “new It kids of comics blogging”‘ by Heidi McDonald of Publisher’s Weekly?
Or that I had a cat named Oreo for 18 years? No, he was not black and white. He was gray striped. After calling him Dorito for the first two hours that he lived with us, I decided that name did not fit. So I asked my mom what else she got at the store that day…..Oreos, she said. And so the gray striped cat was named Oreo.
So there you have it! My very first lunch date. I’ve already booked all my lunches through the middle of February and I’m really excited about the connections I will be making. I love my friends and I’m sure you will too!