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My brother Nate asked me if I had already written my final post. Of course not, it has to be organic when I complete my list. The truth is, I have written this blog over and over in my mind and find it rather daunting to put into words. Tomorrow I turn 30. I walked in the door this evening after completing my last 30B430 task, and Chris was standing in the kitchen with a glass of red wine. “Happy last night of your twenties,” he said with an adorable 8 year old boy smile. All I could do was laugh. Why have I made turning 30 such a big deal? Is it a big deal? I love making birthdays important. Not just mine, but my family’s, boyfriend’s and friend’s birthdays. It is the one day a year when you can celebrate your birth. Your existence on this earth. You are a year older and a year wiser. On the other hand, why not celebrate every day we are alive, by not sweating the small stuff (thanks Dad) and enjoying every moment. Take the time to find mini celebrations, salvations and meditations. I feel like turning 30 is the end of an era and the beginning of something great. I learned so much in my twenties. How to deal with heart break. How to not mix liquor on New Year’s Eve. How to fill out paperwork and that having health insurance is a key component when searching for a job. That I am finally at the age where I say to younger girl friends, “When I was your age,” or “You are too young to remember that,” and remember when that was said to me. That it will always be ok to call Mom and ask for help and that having a few great friends is different then having many rainy day friends. I discovered Casi and a me I like to be even though some days I don’t feel quite right in my own skin - and that is ok. I found out what depression was and how to battle it while going through the deep loss of a parent. I moved to a new state into a new theatre community and found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I made many mistakes and learned how to learn from those mistakes. I have so many memories of grand adventures and hours of laughter. I do believe everything happens for a reason and have enjoyed finding my own path. I think I was afraid to turn 30 because of the stigma behind getting old. I would no longer be desirable. Bull. I would stop having fun. Bull. I am a loser because I have not accomplished the same things that other people my age have accomplished. DUH. I am on a different path and I am proud of everything I have accomplished. Each year brings me a confidence I have never had before and this 30B430 list is a celebration of self care. It made turning 30 fun.

Of course I have already started on my 40Before40 list and it will be posted soon. Dont’ worry. One of the treasures of this blog is how I have inspired others. The community that formed around me. I have had many friends create their own list and random people who hear about it that are excited. I see a spark ignite and hope that it brings them some joy as they accomplish mini goals while practicing self care. People like to celebrate triumphs and my list became their triumphs as well. Friends and strangers (CPR guy who discounted my class for example), got to be a part of the magic in crossing something off my list. It helped me make new friends, (like when I met my best friend’s boyfriend and he wowed me with helping me accomplish the whiskey tasting). I got to catch up with old friends, (like when Amanda who I hadn’t seen in years and I got to adventure to find Antarctica soda). AND of course I got to experience yet another fun adventure with a bff Brandon as we polar plunged into the winter lake as my first accomplishment on my list.

A favorite quote I had as a high school student was, “Every great accomplishment was once considered impossible.” Everything on your bucket list is undone until you go out and do it. Have an adventure. Make a memory. I am looking forward to the adventures my 30’s will bring and can’t wait to check each thing off of my 40Before40 list. Goodbye 20’s. You have been good to me. 30’s I am ready for you.

"All I need is a sparkler and a light." - Casi Maggio

The list:
1. Create a blog (Done 3/17/13)
2. Write and send a message in a bottle (Done 10/13/13)
3. Go to every professional Chicago sporting event this year (DONE 8/11/13)
4. Get rid of 30 things (DONE 10/13/13)
5. Try a new food from every continent (DONE 9/24/13)
6. Polar Plunge (Done 3/15/13)
7. Try a new sport (Done 4/30/2013)
8. Go to 5 new cities outside IL (Done 10/19/13)
9. Perform in a Cabaret (Done 5/23/13)
10. Take a Tango Class (done 7/24/13)
11. Eat at a Michelin rated restaurant (Done 5/4/13)
12. Bake a rainbow cake (DONE 9/7/13)
13. Do a flash mob (Done 4/29/13)
14. Do a whiskey tasting (DONE 6/28/13)
15. Volunteer for an event (DONE 6/4/13)
16. Learn an aria (DONE 9/11/13)
17. Watch all 3 Godfather films in one day (DONE 9/14/13)
18. Sleep under the stars (DONE 9/21/13)
19. Read 30 new plays (DONE 10/22/13)
20. Leave 30 random notes of inspiration all over the city of Chicago (DONE 9/2/13)
21. Kayak on the Chicago River (done 7/28)
22. Do a 5K (Done 6/1/13)
23. Drink an award winning cocktail at a fancy spot (Done 4/23/13)
24. Boudoir photo shoot (Done 10/21/13)
25. Take a CPR class (DONE 10/22/13)
26. Read “The Princess Bride” (Done 3/29/13)
27. Take myself on a solo dinner date (Done 8/17/13)
28. Learn how to change a flat tire (Done 10/12/13)
29. Go apple picking and then make a pie (DONE 10/6/13)
30. Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day (Done 10/21/13)

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#25 TAKE A CPR CLASS - Done 10/22/13 - 1 Day Left

I made it! 30 things before I turned 30 and this was the final task - a CPR class. This is one of those things I felt I needed to know and am ashamed that it took me this long to take a class. AND I almost didn’t make it! I found a company online that had two locations. i called the first location and asked them what time the class was and how long it was. They said 5pm and 2.5 hours. Great - because I had to be at a meeting downtown by 8:30. I get to the location 15 minutes early and the woman tells me, “oh no the other location starts at 5, we start at 6pm. You probably wont make it with traffic.” I call the other location and ask how late I can be and he says 10 minutes. I tell him about my 30B430 over the phone and drive like a bat out of hell to make it 15 minutes late. I walk in frantic and apologetic and he says, “No problem Casi let’s get you in there.” He asks for my card and hands me the receipt and says, “Happy Birthday.” Not only was he bending the rules, but he gave me the class for 50% off! What a lovely birthday surprise. Of course I hugged him and thanked him. I hope Early knows how happy he made me in that moment.

I sneak in the room and the class is watching a video. I begin taking notes and realize that I am the only non nurse in the room. The teacher quickly became my friend since I was laughing and joking with her and I was special enough to be the volunteer to use the AED machine. I had no idea that would be a test in order to get our certification, but I was a great student and passed. Got my card in my wallet and am ready to save a life.

Takeaways:

With an adult check for pulse, responsiveness and breathing. Move to CPR. Begin with compressions 30 at 2”deep and then 2 breaths for 5 seconds. Do this cycle 5 times.

With children use 2 fingers and do the compression 1.5” deep.

There are many more details and scenarios (1 person vs. 2), but these were the most common. I had no idea CPR was so difficult! BUT, now I am certified!

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19. READ 30 NEW PLAYS - Done 10/22/2013 - 1 day left

THE TAMING - By Lauren Gunderson
Inspired by Shakespeare’s Shrew, two political opposites end up in a strange hotel room with a beauty queen running the show. How will they go to defend themselves and their country? Southern Fried Politics, y’all. 3w.

I am so glad that this was my last play for my 30 “read 30 new plays.” Written by a friend and staring one of my best friends reading this play made me feel closer to home. I have been hearing about this play since Kat played the role in a reading and watching vicariously through facebook since I can’t fly home to see it performed. Which just breaks my heart y’all! I know the 3 actresses in the play and have seen their work before. I loved reading the play and picturing them each in their perfect roles. They have been receiving such great reviews because they are talented and because Lauren is a brilliant playwright. I have used 2 of her monologues for auditions, seen a few of her productions and read whatever I could get my hands on. She is skyrocketing as a playwright and I can’t wait to see her work winning Tony’s. Hopefully I will get to be in a Lauren Gunderson show in the not too distant future.

The pictures above are from The Crowded Fire’s production.

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""A great figure or physique is nice, but it’s self-confidence that makes someone really sexy." ~ Vivica Fox"

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24. BOUDOIR PHOTO SHOOT - DONE 10/21/2013 - 2 Days left

Confidence is sexy. 26 was my confident age. When trying to muster up some confidence for an audition or when meeting new important/intimidating people I remember 26 year old Casi. I was single and I felt hot. I was in Threepenny Opera which, thanks to Susannah Martin, took me out of my comfort zone. It allowed me to explore a side of myself that I never explored before. I was surrounded by a cast of open, supportive, sexy, free, beautiful people. It was an empowering show. I enjoyed dating and meeting as many people as possible. We dressed up for parties, hit the bars and laughed all night long. I enjoyed living with my best friend, hosting game nights and drinking wine. So much laughter. This is also the year that I met Chris. He said that I had a light like he had never seen and that he could see my light in him. I light his fire and he calms my storm. (Someone crochet that on a throw pillow for us please.)

Why this back story? Over the past few months I have been re-cultivating my sexy. My Saturn returns threw me through a loop and I am learning to be me again. In therapy I said to my therapist, “I am just trying to find 26 year old Casi again.” She helped me discover that I can never be 26 year old Casi again, because I am 29 almost 30 year old Casi. I can however learn how to practice self care (hello 30B430 list!) and cultivate confidence. (Boudoir Photo Shoot) I added this to my list as a way to celebrate me and my body. My girl friend Eliza saw this on my list while the list was still being birthed and she said she would love to do the shoot. How exciting that I have a friend who does this type of photography. With the cabaret and our busy bee lives we never got to meet for the shoot. SO, I am looking forward to the shoot the way I originally imagined it when I added it to the list sometime in our futures. For now, I needed to check this off the list.

I had my cathartic sunrise/sunset day under my belt and was home before Chris. The time was now. I had reconnected with a friend who reminded me what it meant to be sexy. Our conversation helped me to realize that I am a sexy woman. I was inspired. I got out my Russian Red lipstick (Meghan Ihle’s color that she shared with me!) I would love to post photos from this session…but this was a private shoot. Just for me. I had a friend once tell me that while they are vacationing they spend a whole day without their camera. That day of adventuring is just for their memory. My 30B430 photo shoot remains in my memory and those photos inspire me to be the me I enjoy to be. The sexy Casi. The confident Casi. Thank you for the confidence friend. Thank you friend for telling me about the “lose your camera day.” I have the memories of being 26 year old Casi and new memories of 29 year old Casi doing a boudoir photo shoot. Checked another thing of my list and helped my light shine a little brighter.

"Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick ass red lipstick." ~ Gwyneth Paltrow

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"Youth is a wonderful thing.  What a crime to waste it on children."  ~George Bernard Shaw

30. WATCH THE SUNRISE AND SUNSET IN THE SAME DAY - Done 10/21/13 - 2 Days Left

I had to work at 6am after a weekend wedding getaway. Luckily, Chris and I had some time to relax before getting back to the work week/the start of my birthday week.I walk into work to a delightful surprise. I love my coworkers. I had done my research and knew that the sunrise today was at 7:10. Thank goodness I am not on a call. I throw on my jacket and run up to floor 10 to sneak on the roof. I am reminded of stealing roofs with Nate when we saw the stained glass water tower in Dumbo. Only this time the door was locked and I knew the alarm would sound. OH NO! The roof doesn’t open until 8am and I had no idea. No problem. I am able to watch the glow of the sunrise from the window. Just me and the 10th floor. Silence and serenity as I start my last Monday in my twenties. Fast forward to 8am and I have an upset stomach. Shartia sent me home (thank goodness because I had to vomit…and I did a few times). Chris says that I have made myself sick from all the anxiety and stress. He is probably right. He usually is. I worked the rest of a 10 hour day from home and had to go to a quick education meeting downtown. I was getting anxious on the train because how would I watch the sunset at my meeting? Then I thought of the sunrise glow and let it wash over me. I snuck out at the appropriate time to “use the restroom” and watched the glow of the sunset. The sunset was the opposite of the sunrise. Hustle and bustle around me. People brush past on their cellphones and buses whiz by to take riders to their next adventure. I let the cacophony of noise wash over me with the glow of the sunset and went back into my meeting with my secret inside me. I may not have been on a beach in the romantic embrace of Chris watching the sunrise and sunset as I had imagined, but I still had my own romantic experience. The quiet glow of the morning and the hustle and bustle of life around me in the evening. Bring it on 30. I am ready for you. Wash over me.

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8. GO TO 5 NEW CITIES OUTSIDE IL 5/5 Done 10/19/13 - 4 Days Left

What an excellent way to check off the last city outside IL from my 30B430. The wedding of Jason and Dri. The wedding was in beautiful Ann Arbor, MI where they first met. The drive was about 4 hours from Chicago with an additional hour for the time difference. We were lucky to have a friend Pamela connect us with a place to stay and we gave her a ride to the wedding. We drove up Friday night to Pamela’s friends’ house in Ypselani, MI. She has a guest bedroom for us that was very comfortable. It was great to sleep in and enjoy a waffle breakfast that Val made. It was raining which of course is a good luck sign for Jason and Dri. Val drove us all to downtown Ann Arbor so we could walk around and get a glimpse of the city. It was bustling because of the homecoming Michigan football game. We checked out the cute stores, got a pumpkin latte at a local coffee shop and walked through the farmer’s market. i heard from 2 different people that you can’t go to Ann Arbor without stopping at Zingerman’s deli. We waited the 45 minutes to get sandwiches, but the time flew by because we got to enjoy many samples while in line. Then we jetted home to primp for the wedding.

I was nervous about driving back downtown because of all the football game madness, but somehow we found princess parking right out front of the venue. The wedding was being held at the Art Museum on the Michigan campus. The ceremony was so beautiful and full of genuine love. The man who married the two of them gave the funniest ceremony I have every witnessed. The wedding party sang Ingrid Michaelson’s “You and I,” down the aisle and there was violin, guitar and piano from the party. The rest of the wedding whizzed by with laughter and great company. I felt honored that Jason and Dri gave me the opportunity to speak during dinner and Chelsea and I planned a short and sweet speech about being Jason’s “show wives.” We danced the night away and closed the museum. Everyone stumbled down the street to BTB for a little after party dancing. We were definately the old people in the college bar, but we didn’t mind. Chris was a gentleman and fetched the car so the ladies didn’t have to kill their feet on the way back to the car.

The next morning we went to brunch at Dri’s parents and I had the pleasure of chatting with both Jason and Dri’s parents. It was so lovely that they knew me by name and that I felt like I bonded with each set. Dri’s Mom said that they did their research on facebook and sent us home with one of the flower decorations from the wedding. Now we are still enjoying the wedding at our house. It was nice to get home with some time to have a lazy Sunday evening with Chris. We went to bed early and laid in bed discussing our someday wedding. That might have been my favorite part of the whole weekend.

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"#19 READ 30 NEW PLAYS - Read 29/30 - 5 days left"

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I have had many friends share many wonderful plays with me to accomplish this task and I am sorry to say that I will not be able to read them all before my 30th. BUT, I am happy to say that I have them in my possession and will get to them for my 40before40 list. I read a collection of plays by Neil Labute.

Have I mentioned Ilove Neil LaBute? I have so many fond memories connected to his plays. Sitting in a preview of This is How it Goes next to director George C. Wolfe. Playing Jeanie in Fat Pig and conquering some huge issues of my own. and that moment when I read an audition posting and almost cried because under audition requirements it said, “No LaBute.” What is it about his plays that I love? They make me so angry,  they call me on my shit and then I mad that I am laughing and what is in front of me. They make me look at humanity in the face, feel like a hypocrite for laughing and question 4th wall…does it exist? Is this real? I know each of his characters personally and something inside of me connects to every character he writes. I see me in his plays. It is also fun to read what actor originally played the role and to picture them and their mannerisms inhabiting the role. It is especially exciting when I read that it is Paul Rudd, because he must be a muse for LaBute and I am totally fine with that.

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WRECKS and other plays by Neil LaBute

Wrecks
Ed Harris at a funeral for his wife. Trying to “kick the habit” of the cigarettes is a nice metaphor for standing over your loved one knowing the rest of your life will be breaking the habit of a life with them in it.

Liars ClubFour actors on stage at a “benefit” where one of them is telling you a lie and the others are telling true stories. Trouble is…each story is awful, you almost don’t want to know which is the truth and which is the lie. This is a great example of a play where LaBute toys with the 4th wall. Tha actors are constantly talking to the audience and asking them to believe they are telling the truth…when in fact the whole thing is all an act. Or is it?

Union Square
 
Some good ol’ fashion LaBute racism by in a mirror at the audience’s face. A man is visiting NY to find his wife and is speaking with what I assumed was the homeless person. BUT, it is the audience he is talking to, so we become the person he is subtly insulting with his racism. Then I ask myself questions about how I view others. My inner dialogue is on fire.

Love at Twenty Ah, the poor 20something that fell in love iwth an older married man. As the story unfolds she is crazier and crazier and yet…we have all been there and believed he would call. They get better, unless you are just always crazy.

Land of the Dead Paul Rudd as a sleaze and Kristin Davis as Charlotte. THis was a tough one to read as the LaBute secret twist unfolded. I knew it was coming, but hoped it would take another turn…then it did. Not in the way I wanted. This would be a hard one to work on, but if Paul Rudd was my scene partner, I would drop everything and go to the sad place.

Stand-Up Mos Def originally did this piece as an actor stand up comedian - not really kinda guy. I’ll bet he was phenominal in this piece. Exactly the kind of performer this piece calls for. SInce I am studying at Second City, I am very intune to comedy and stand-up right now. It is all research. This piece was a mind trip with 4th wall confusion and stand-up theatricality.

CoaxUltimate 4th wall experiment. I don’t want to ruin it so just read it. Don’t know how I feel about it….yet.

Falling in Like Another poor girl waiting for the man to come. “He’ll be here, he is just usually late.” The concept of this piece, “falling in like” is interesting. I have fallen in like with so many people and it is hard when they are in love and you are just in like. Why can’t you find the love that they find? That is why when you finally fall in love…you gotta hold on tight and hope that he isn’t someone who is perpetually late like this poor girl who obviously is in love while he is in like.

Chat
  • http: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFdZRXNX27g
  • I cannot believe I forgot to blog this event. My fellow "Let's Misbehave" understudy buddy Brennan was looking over my list to see what he could help me knock off, and offered to help me with my aria. He is currently working on a Masters in Voice and has access to the music building rehearsal rooms. I thought that this would be good practice for him to have a student, so really we were helping each other. He selected this piece for me because it is a standard and will sound lovely in my voice. He gave me a quick Italian lesson and explained how to sing the vowels. We discussed the translation and how it effects the phrasing of the notes. It was great. I included a link to Joyce DiDonato performing the piece because she sounds great and her dress is fabulous. I have a recording of Brennan playing the song for me so I can whip it out and dust it off should I ever need an aria for an audition...or for when I am ready to be an opera star.
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#4 GET RID OF 30 THINGS - Done 10/13/13 - 9 Days Left

30 is the magic number. I added this to my list as a way of finding catharsis before my 30B430. This one seems so easy, but I am a sentimental person and have a hard time getting rid of things. Chris is the same way so we have tubs of “stuff” we need to sort through. Last night was the night. I have been under a lot of stress and have been feeling overwhelmed. When I was younger and stressed, my Mom would always help me clean my room. Having a clean space helps to free the mind. I had wanted to switch over to my fall/winter clothes for a while and last night because of a canceled rehearsal, I had the gift of time. I pulled ALL the clothes I own onto the bed. I knew it was time to get rid of the clothes I was keeping for sentimental reasons only. I told Chris I could only keep 10 sentimental t-shirts, and he suggested I put those aside for a t-shirt quilt. Let the clearing games begin. I have heard of the rule, “if you haven’t worn it for a year, get rid of it.” I can’t live by that rule because I love costumes and dressing up so much I would hate if I got rid of something that would have been PERFECT for a costume. I told myself I would get rid of things that were worn out, had seen better days or didn’t fit right. I hadn’t been able to wear the shirt that I was wearing when I found out my Dad passed away so I tossed it in the pile. Why was I keeping that? I didn’t need the shirt as a memory of my father, because I have millions of great memories without needing a sad memory shirt. In the pile. My favorite black shirt I wear all the time, but am embarrassed to wear because the holes in the armpits are no longer mendable. In the pile. That white tank top that is so sweet for summer, but can only be worn under a sweater because of the stain. In the pile. The dress that was a hand-me-down that is so cute, but never looked quite right on me. In the pile. I had a goal of 30 things. I didn’t meet my goal. I exceeded it! I have 1 pile/2 bags of 40 items ready to donate! Hopefully those treasures can turn out to be someone else’s treasure as well. Now that I got the ball rolling by cleaning out my closet, I want to go through the rest of the house!

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#28. LEARN HOW TO CHANGE A FLAT TIRE - Done 8/12/13 - 10 DAYS LEFT

Another accidental 30B430 experience. Friday afternoon, I got a call from my stage manager that I needed to come up for a put in rehearsal because the actress I was understudying was ill. I rode up to St. Charles with the stage manager Saturday afternoon and rehearsed with her before the show. Luckily, Khaki’s medication was kicking in and she felt well enough to perform. I stayed for the show and they were able to put me up at the resort for the night, so I would be available Sunday in case she didn’t feel like performing. I was excited to stay because I knew I would get a chance to go out with the cast post show and relax a little Sunday morning instead of rehearsing. (Chris got to join me for a cute pumpkin festival and lunch.) After the show, I joined two of the actors, Khaki and Blake, to grab a bite to eat before we joined the rest of the cast/crew at the bar. I made the decision for the car for Taco Bell over McDonald’s. This was a difficult decision for 3 indecisive people, but I am proud that I was able to make it! We were driving the short distance back when Blake’s tire began acting up, luckily we were right by a gas station so we could get air. Khaki and I had some nice girl talk while Blake filled up the tire and then we were back on the road. Not 2 minutes later the tire was flat again. Blake had been having trouble with his tire already but knew that he had to change it in the parking lot of the resort. “Duh! My 30B430!” I exclaimed to the car. After explaining my list to the two of them, Blake was excited that he could help me on my 30B430 journey. We grabbed a drink with the cast then came out to finish the task. It was close to midnight now and I had to pull out my $1 spot target flashlight from my purse so we could get to work. Khaki photographed the process and somehow managed to capture multiple obscene shots as well as Blake as a tire changing demon. Blake did a lot of the hard work, but let me jump in so I could learn. He explained each step like a gentleman and kept us laughing so the whole thing was fun instead of the pain in the butt that it actually was. We had 3 people stop by and offer to help and one gentleman, (who loved his cologne) brought out a tire iron to help us get the last two lug nuts that turned out to be stripped. Blake was happy that this man justified his manhood by not being able to remove the last two nuts. SO, we didn’t get to finish the full change of the flat tire, but I now know how to do it should I need for future. Many people said, “Don’t you have AAA?” Yes I do, but I now have the knowledge for that unfortunate time when AAA is not an option, because it is pouring rain and there is no cell service and I am all alone. I am ready for that moment. Hopefully I will have an umbrella too.

How to Change a tire:

1. Find your spare and the jack in the trunk. The jack is separated into 2 pieces and might be in different compartments.

2. Find a piece of metal under the car for the jack. Do not jack up the car under the plastic part because it will cause damage.

3. Get to work jacking.

4. Use a piece of the jack to get the lug nuts off. If they are stripped and there isn’t a kind gentleman with too much cologne around to tell you they are stripped, then you are S.O.L.

The following steps I did not get to try myself, but Blake explained them to me for the time I do need to change my tire:

5. Take off the original tire and put the new tire on (in the correct direction).

6. Place the lug nuts back with the jack lever. It is important to put them on opposite of the circle and not in a clockwise formation to keep the weight distributed correctly. Make sure they are tight.

7. Release the jack.

8. Drive to a tire shop.