Back to the Mac.

Today is just two days shy of my two month anniversary of leaving Fort McMurray, the morning of the evacuation.


I’ve seen photos and posts from friends that have returned, but nothing prepares you for the unexpected wave of emotion to see the scars the fire left behind.

I mean we have all seen what the aftermath of a burn looks like.

Black. Charred. Partially collapsed buildings and homes reminiscent of a post apocalyptic scene.

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YMM “My heart overflowith.” Part 1. 

“My heart overflowith.” Was the caption below one of my friends photos just a couple days after the entire town of Fort McMurray was evacuated due to a raging wildfire consuming much of the community.

The past few days have been a torrent of mixed emotions. There have been endless photos and videos of places where I just hung out only days ago, now burnt to the ground. Our town engulfed in flames that one would only imagine happening in apolcayptic movies.


I, myself had only left the morning that morning at 10am, before the single highway leading into Fort McMurray was gridlocked, closed and on fire. This was between 12-2pm on May 3, 2016. By this point I was halfway to Edmonton (the next and pretty much only city, save a couple of gas station villages in between).  I normally avoid my phone when driving but my phone was lighting up with messages and images. I had left thinking the fire was under control but suddenly it must have changed, and my chest tightened with anxiety as each post came through.

Below is a series of snapshots of a conversation I had with my friend from two days before the major evacuation, leading up to the day after.

Two days before the evacuation, we had seen smoke across the highway from her home. Earlier that day she told me her area was on watch for voluntary evacuation. I told her maybe she should pack a go- bag just in case.  At that point she wasn’t concerned and invited me to come over.

I was in Gregoire having a drink on her patio when we went for a walk to see the smoke. 10 meters beyond her backyard we could see this.

(if this video does not play it’s posted on my Facebook page)

I looked at Andrea and I told her. “You need to get ready to leave, if we can see the flames it could change any moment.” If that wind changes, I told her that fire could be at her house in minutes.

She saw the seriousness in my face and she knew what I was talking about. Instantly she got on her phone and started calling. I gave her a hug and told her I needed to get my stuff and go home.

This was Sunday May 1, 2016. On the way home to Timberlea I could see water bombers in the sky and I parked my car by the river to watch them work.  (Video below) The fire at this point was still confined to the forest and to many of us, seemed manageable but still a potential threat to some.

(if this video does not play it’s posted on my Facebook Page.)
By the next morning the smoke in the air was little and the sun was out, the sky was blue. It seemed to many of us that the fire was under control. Andrea had even told me she was allowed to go back home.

This was Monday May 2, 2016. The reason why I came back for the weekend was to perform in the Regional One Act Festival and finish moving my stuff from Fort Mcurray to Calgary.

This day was as beautiful of a day as any other summer day, I cleaned my car, read my book out in the back yard, and continued to pack the remainder of my things. That evening we had an amazing time performing our one act “Sure Thing.” After watching all the other brilliant performances I went out for drinks with my theatre friends, for what seemed to maybe be the last time in a long time….

YMM “My Heart Overflowith.” Part 2

****  Displaced residents of #ymmfires my home is open, if you need a place to rest, a shower, place to launder your things, food or a ride. I am close to the Calgary airport. Please message me or share my resources with someone else in need. 403.973.7386

If you would like to help: Donations can be made to Red Cross

And I am selling my Seto Pottery at Paint It Up Pottery studio, in Okotoks, AB, where 50% of my sales will go towards the victims of the YMM Fires.

YMM “My heart overflowith.” Part 1. 

“My heart overflowith.” Was the caption below one of my friends photos just a couple days after the entire town of Fort McMurray was evacuated due to a raging wildfire consuming much of the community. 

The past few days have been a torrent of mixed emotions. There have been endless photos and videos of places I just hung out only  days ago burnt to the ground or engulfed in flames that one would only imagine happened in apolcayptic movies. 


I, myself had only left the morning that morning at 10am, before the single highway leading into Fort McMurray was gridlocked, closed and on fire. This was between 12-2pm on May 3, 2016. By this point I was halfway to Edmonton (the next and pretty much only city, save a couple of gas station villages in between).  I normally avoid my phone when driving but my phone was lighting up with messages and images and I had left thinking the fire was under control but suddenly it must have changed. 

Below is a series of snapshots of a conversation I had with my friend from two days before the major evacuation, to the day after. 

The day before we had seen smoke across the highway from her home. Earlier that day she told me her area was on watch for evacuation. I told her maybe she should pack a go bag just in case.  At that point she wasn’t concerned and invited me to come over. 

I was in Gregoire having a drink on her patio when we went for a walk to see the smoke. 10 meters beyond her backyard we could see this. 



I looked at Andrea and I told her. “You need to get ready to leave, if we can see the flames it could change any moment.” If that wind changes, I told her that fire could be at her house in minutes. 

She saw the seriousness in my face and she knew what I was talking about. Instantly she got on her phone and started calling. I gave her a hug and told her I needed to get my stuff and go home. 

This was Sunday May 1, 2016. On the way home to Timberlea I could see water bombers in the sky and I parked my car by the river to watch them work.  (Video below) The fire at this point was still confined to the forest and to many of us, seemed manageable but still a potential threat to some. 


By the next morning the smoke in the air was little and the sun was out, the sky was blue. It seemed to many of us that the fire was under control. Andrea had even told me she was allowed to go back home. 

This was Monday May 2, 2016. The reason why I came back for the weekend was to perform in the Regional One Act Festival and finish moving my stuff from Fort Mcurray to Calgary. 

I cleaned my car that day, read my book out in the back yard in my swimsuit and packed as much of my stuff into my car. That evening we had amazing time perform out one act “Sure Thing,” and after watching all the other brilliant performances I went out for drinks with my theatre friends for what seemed to maybe be the last time in a long time. 

The next morning I packed my things, messaged Andrea to see how she was and hit the road by 10 am. Ish. And that brings us back to the beginning of this post… When everything went from being okay to many of my friends losing their homes. 

Melbas31 Snap Shirt Selfies.

A callback: a joke that refers back to another joke performed

earlier in the show; often presented in a different context.

Snap Shirt: A shirt with snap on buttons. Very often coming in plaid.

My love for snap shirts has always been something of a thing in my life.  When I first moved to Wood Buffalo, it wasn’t long until people knew me for my insatiable and compulsory need to snap, Snap Shirts.

I’ve essentially been building this joke  in my community – this  callback – for the past 4 years.

Background.

In 2014, Chris and Jonathan Bowers quickly learned of my love for snap shirts. The three of us had been casted in Les Miserable at Keyano Theatre and we barely even knew each other. Correction. We actually didn’t know each other at all. Then one day Jon shows up in one of the earlier rehearsals and lo and behold, the man is donning a Snap Shirt.  Before I could control myself, my hands propelled themselves forward and in one motion *snap *snap *snap. Every single one snapped open.

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From then on, John and Chris would wear Snap Shirts for me. Not all the time… just as a treat. My goal for Snap Shirts is to always try unsnap all the snaps in one motion. To succeed in this, means you are a true snap shirt ninja.

One day, Chris and Jon came into rehearsals wearing their plaid shirts and chatting with each other in the hallway.

This was the unicorn of all snap shirts. The Ultimate Double Snap. To become a true Snap Shirt Master, I was to – unbeknownst to them – swoop in and get both shirts in one movement.

I grounded my feet. Took a low stance, not unlike that of a ferocious mountain lion getting ready to pounce it’s prey, and I began to run. I ran with the grace of a tiger , the speed of a leopard and the stealth of a wolverine. As I drew between them, their backs facing me, I aimed high and near the collar and with the skill of a marksman I ran my hands down from top to bottom. *snap *snap *snap *snap  *snap *snap. I maintained momentum and disappeared around the corner.

Simultaneously, I had succeeded in the Ultimate Double Snap.

Or had I? As I wheeled around the corner there was also a new sound ringing behind me. Something felt different in one of those shirts. Something wasn’t quite right. *click *click *click *click.

It was the sound of plastic.

Buttons.

Ultimately, Chris had in fact, NOT been wearing a snap shirt.

I just ripped off all the buttons of his shirt.

My screams of glee and triumph instantly changed to a look of horror and shame.

Chris was so mad.

I sheepishly returned to him, picking up each shameful button one by one, and told him I’d sew them back on for him immediately.

Since then, it has been an ongoing joke in the community and friends now wear Snap Shirts just for my own personal pleasure!

I have not since reattempted the Ultimate Double Snap. The opportunity has never come up since. It truly is the unicorn of Snap Shirts.

And so, its been nearly 3 years since that incident and Chris and I are obviously still friends, and he still wears his Snap Shirts for me. In fact he’s wearing one in our debut of stage production of #Surething. Just for me :).

 

Lastly, I wanted to share with you all this. For my 31st birthday, I asked for one thing from my friends. A #snapshirt #selfie.

Because whatever Melba wants. Melba gets.

Check out Chris’s Blog at CJBuzz.com

Life Is Never a SURE THING.

As the showcase draws near, it’s time to reflect on what has come to pass in these past few months. What I have learned. How I have grown. What changes I have witnessed in other people.

4 months ago I faced the disappointment of not being casted in what I thought was to be my last show in Fort Mcmurray.

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Sure Thing Play By Dave Ives

About a year ago I had auditioned for Cabaret at Keyano Theatre and on Opening Night, the 2016 plays for the Drama series were announced. It was a full house and I remember standing behind the tinsel curtain with the Kitty Kat Klub, when we heard the “Into The Woods,” was going to be on stage the following year. Elizabeth and I locked eyes and hands and our mouths dropped in silent screams of excitement. Continue reading