She’s Once… Twice… Three Times a Lady

Aside

“You can count on me like 1, 2, 3. I’ll be there
And I know when I need it, I can count on you like 4, 3, 2
You’ll be there. ‘Cause that’s what friends are supposed to do, oh yeah” – Bruno Mars/Count on Me

DSCN7137

 

I set my water bottle on the drainage grate, my hula hoop in the grass and my bag of tricks on the sidewalk. Showtime! Five minutes later another Lady Liberty joined me. Then another climbed on top of a van. A third rounded the corner moments later. We were multiplying!

It looked like Costumed Mama was part of a back-up dance crew today! The occasion: Liberty Tax Service’s Roadside Party. There was food, drink, raffles and a bounce house.

Exciting!

You know what else was exciting? I got my very first “you’re number one” sign from a driver, and it was the perfect day for it! I’m just glad I paid close attention to my Waver 101 training video on audition day, otherwise I may have misinterpreted the driver’s intention. I smiled, waved and gave the thumbs up to show my gratitude.

I then decided it was necessary to have some other “firsts” on the street.

1) I sang out loud. (Flo Rida and Truly Scrumptious wouldn’t let me hold it in anymore)

DSCN7165

 

2) I did a cart wheel. (It was the one thing on Liberty’s “Ways to Get Attention” list that I hadn’t tried)

DSCN7203

You want see video, don’t you? Okay. But be warned: It’s not pretty.

3) I took my pants off. (After weeks of yearning for warmer weather I finally got my wish, and now it was too hot!)

DSCN7232

Aren’t you glad the pants came off after the cart wheel?

And what you’ve all been waiting for…

4)     I posted some videos of Costumed Mama. (you need a laugh)

See her hoop it up here. See her do something else here.

5)     And lastly, I kissed a furry face on the job. DSCN7195Oh, wait – that might not be a first.

“I’m feeling like a star, you can’t stop my shine, I’m loving cloud nine, my head’s in the sky” – Jason Derulo/Ridin’ Solo

Advertisements

Liberty Shout-Outs

“Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out. Honestly I wanna see you      be brave with what you want to say” – Brave/Sara Bareilles

 

DSCN7217

I am a quiet person. I’m not particularly outgoing.

That may surprise some of you considering the stories I’ve told and the job I’m doing. It’s all an act. It’s my job. Similar to what I do when I’m cast in a play, I perform. I have a script so I know what to say. Give me the words and an audience, and I will accomplish the mission. With Lady Liberty I have no script, so I keep my mouth shut. I can’t even bring myself to cheer at a sporting event. I stood on the boardwalk a few weeks ago to support a friend in the Shamrock 8K. I held a sign. I had spent the previous week jumping and waving and dancing on the side of the street. Why then did I not have the courage to shout out to the runners or do anything more than shake my sign and jog in place to keep warm?

I listen to some great songs through my ipod on the street. My natural desire is to sing along, but I resist. I only do so in my head. In private, I’ve been known to dance through the house and burst into song as if my life were a Broadway musical. On the street I remain silent.

The funny thing is I have a lot to say, but the dialogue stays in my head. Yep -I just admitted to talking to myself. It’s not so crazy if I don’t do it out loud, right?

But what if I did? What if I said what I thought and let the words fall out?

It might go something like this:

To the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Truck: You have driven by me way too many times not to share. I deserve a tip and I’ll take it in ice cream sandwiches.

To about 20% of the drivers passing by: Stop texting! Just stop. You’re scaring me.

 To Bobby: I like them too!

DSCN6537

To the woman in the black Range Rover: You cannot eat a burrito, talk on the phone and drive all at the same time…not safely. No, you can’t.

To the man who spit on my stage: Spewing your slimy D.N.A in public is a revolting habit. And you did it in my work space! How would you like it if I peed on your desk? Maybe vomit on your living room floor? Flick a wet booger on your computer keyboard? Pop a zit on your phone? Should any of these ideas seem inappropriate to you or perhaps disgusting, I urge you to never, ever, ever purposely discharge your bodily fluids on any sidewalk, grassy area or parking lot. As for all you habitual loogie-hockers who cry, “What am I supposed to do with it?” I only have one word: SWALLOW.

To all the drivers who give me thumbs up, honk, wave and smile, especially my faithful school bus drivers and the HRT driver who always places his hand over his heart: Thank you. Be safe!

To my Station 4 Firefighters: I love you, but your horn startles me every time!

To the Tastykake delivery truck driver: I’m working hard here. Give a lady a cupcake. Please. Pretty please… with chocolate frosting on top?

To the pick-up truck driver with the “Butt Buffer” business label: Huh? I really want to know what that’s all about. Next time you come by, please drive on my side of the street. I have a new dance move I’ve dedicated to you.

To whoever left the box of “Sexual Peak Performance Tablets” on the sidewalk’s manhole (also known as my spotlight): Thank you for the kind gesture, but it seems someone got to it before I arrived at work. The pack was completely empty. That’s okay. My Acai Blueberry Energy drink mix is providing just the right amount of kick to keep my street performance at its peak. May I suggest a box of chocolates next time?

To all the cute kids in the back seats who smile and wave at Lady Liberty: Stay in school, work hard and pursue your passion, and some day you too can be flipping a sign on the street corner!

 

 “Doesn’t matter if you’re short or squat… Cerebrally challenged, completely shot. You might have it or might not. All you really have to do is… shine. Give ’em that old razzle dazzle and shine!”-Billy Elliot the Musical

Lady’s Best Friend

You didn’t know she had a dog?

His name is Bartholdi.

DSCN7074

It’s not the first time Costumed Mama has dressed up a dog. Stay tuned. She’ll share those other photos in future posts.

Hang on to your crowns, fans and followers! Lady Liberty is in the homestretch. Only 12 more days until she returns to the harbor and Costumed Mama has some catching up to do. There are still a lot of stories to tell so she’ll be updating the blog daily to squeeze it all in before the tax deadline. If you don’t want to miss a post be sure to subscribe to the blog by clicking the “follow” button.

What questions do you want answered? Leave a comment below.

 

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor… Your Crazy?

 


“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind. There was something so pleasant about that place.”- Crazy/Gnarls Barkley                                    
(From Lady Lib’s StreetDance Playlist )

 DSCN6835

This crazy adventure began when I wondered what it would be like to be a Lady Liberty Waver.

Let’s face it – after 20 minutes on the street you’ve pretty much got it figured out. So how have I lasted this long? I’ve asked myself that many, many times.

I stood outside for hours when temperatures dropped below freezing, the wind was brutal and time seemed to stand still. I considered quitting… walking off the job. There were days when I was bored, tired and wanting to go home. I considered my hourly wage and wondered was it really worth it to stick it out. Why? Hadn’t I accomplished my mission?

I had accomplished the first goal. I got hired. I got to wear the Lady Liberty costume, and I got to strut my stuff on the street, but there was still more to do. I had set other goals and that’s what kept me coming back to the street.

FITNESS – I was convinced that there was no possible way that I could NOT lose weight on this job. I had struggled for years trying to lose weight unsuccessfully. With Lady Liberty as my personal trainer at least 12 hours a week, I was going to see results. This would be forced cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis, and I was going to get paid for it!

CHALLENGE – I wanted to see if I could do it. Could I problem solve and endure? I wanted to figure out ways to handle the weather. I wanted to see if my personal efforts could make a difference for the business. I wanted to challenge myself to come up with as many creative ideas for my costume, my props and my outdoor performance space.

ADVENTURE – This was something so unique. I felt compelled to try it. I was intrigued by who I might meet on the job or on the street and where it might lead. It was also a risky endeavor personally. I wasn’t sure how friends and family would take it, and that’s why I kept it a secret for several months.

STORIES – Whenever you open your world to new people, experiences and scenes, there are tons of story ideas. (at least for me) As a writer, I was excited about all the new characters and scenarios that would present themselves. The idea of this blog came to me one month into the job. It was a great inspiration and served as a strong motivator to keep me working at a time when things were getting very stale.

MONEY – I needed it. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

THE BONUS – I was told there was a monetary bonus for employees who worked the entire tax season. I wanted that bonus from day one. Halfway through the season, when I was having tough days, I’d think – I’ve made it this far. I can’t give up my bonus.

That’s what keeps me going. I’ve learned a lot about myself on the journey. I’m in the homestretch now and it’s really hard to keep things fresh. I’ve been waiting for warm, dry days so I can shed some layers and stop this constant battle with the wicked winter weather.

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a waver?                                                 Try it for a day and you could win $1000.

Yes, $1000! Liberty Tax Service is having a wave-a-thon on April 12. I’m sure I’m not eligible being a “professional waver.”

Think about it – you could make more money in a day than I’ve made the whole tax season. Hey! That doesn’t seem fair. You’d earn at least 15 times more than me an hour depending on how long the other wavers last. Wow. That makes going to work tomorrow even harder.

Wave-a-thon details here.

DSCN7008“Ain’t nothin gonna break my stride.  Nobody’s gonna slow me down, Oh  no. I got to keep on movin'” –  Break My Stride/Matthew  Wilder    (From Lady Lib’s StreetDance Playlist)         

Props to the Lady

DSCN6460

These were my favorite glasses to hide behind. They were purchased some years ago to create alien eyes for a Halloween costume. Later, I wore them as part of a groovy 1970s party outfit. Then they were passed on to Lady Liberty who wore them only a few days before her dog ate them. Good thing Costumed Mama had five more pairs just as snazzy for Lady Liberty to borrow.

I was too embarrassed to admit to anyone that I was a “professional waver”… a street performer… a sign flipper… whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t going to tell anybody about my temporary employment. Sunglasses were a great accessory for disguising my face. So was the face paint. Once on the street, I discovered another advantage to sunglasses. They were liberating. When I wore them, which was most of the time, they had a profound effect on my performance. I was free to take chances and be silly because nobody knew who I was. Disguised, I wasn’t afraid to make a fool of myself, but if I took the glasses off for a minute I was exposed and instantly self-conscious.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know I put a lot of thought into venturing out on this marketing adventure. I had determined that weather and boredom would be the biggest obstacles, and now over two and half months into the job, I can say without a doubt that I was right. Today’s post is about how I tackled the issue of boredom.

Early on, the wheels were turning as to how I could keep things fun, entertaining and stimulating on the street – not only for me, but for the audience too. I decided props were necessary – anything that would be fun to play with as well as eye-catching to an audience who could only afford me a passing glance at 35-40mph. The idea of bringing my own style and flair to the job was exciting.  I scoured my closet, garage, costume boxes and my favorite thrift stores searching for materials to incorporate into a routine. This was the fun part and one of the most satisfying parts of the job for me. The goal was to find items that could serve as an extension to my costume and move with me in a unique way. I was on the lookout for lightweight materials that could be twirled, spun, shaken or waved. Anything glittery, shiny, flowing or bright.

Have you ever seen something for sale at a flea market and thought – Why would anyone buy that?

It’s what would have come to mind a few months ago when I spotted a dirty, broken bamboo torch lying among the wooden chachkies at the thrift store. But Costumed Mama snatched up the 75-cent castaway, and after a coat of green paint, some gold tissue paper and some metallic fringe it turned into the perfect torch for Lady Liberty.

DSCN6291

She holds it high as she waves, pumps it when she dances, uses it as a pointer to direct traffic to the office and twirls it like a baton.

DSCN6686

Look at this gorgeous handmade hula hoop! I love it. Costumed Mama bought it from Hooping on the Bay specifically for Lady Liberty. Their up-cycled hoops come in several sizes, weights and colors/patterns. It’s not easy to spin a hoop with layers of clothing and costume fabric bunching up around the waist, but with the size and weight of this hoop I don’t need to put forth too much extra effort. I picked out a hoop covered with bright fabric and tape to provide a nice contrast to the gown.

DSCN6691

I was in the thrift store admiring some huge green and yellow pom-poms when a lady asked me, “Do you miss it?”

Wow. I must have been looking at those pom poms very longingly or it could have been the test run that had me pumping and shimmying in the aisles that prompted her question. “Were you a cheerleader?”

Ha! Not even close. I was the girl who spent school lunches in the library and was bored watching sports.

DSCN6645

I was too cheap to spend 1.99 each on these pom poms, but a week later I found my pair of small blue ones for 45 cents. They are great to use when I get tired of waving and when I’m listening to a really good dance beat. I walked into the office one day after dancing with my pom poms and a tax preparer said, “You were a cheerleader, weren’t you?”  I must be a very good actress with an inner cheerleader screaming to get out.

DSCN6672

     One of my favorite props is the ribbon! I was so excited when I saw this product at the dollar store. I was going to learn how to ribbon dance! It works best when the winds are calm or non-existent to be able to get smooth, dancing tails. A few weeks later I found a huge spool of blue metallic ribbon for less than a dollar, enough to make at least 20 ribbon flags. What luck! I taped strips of ribbon to wooden skewers I already had at home in my kitchen drawer. My homemade dancing ribbons are pictured below.

DSCN6664 DSCN6646And lastly, there is the sign. Liberty Tax Service has a closet full of signs with various slogans and promotions printed on them. I figured learning how to spin a sign or do some tricks would be a fun way to keep me entertained. It’s not easy, but I’m learning out on the street. Time flies when you’re having fun.

DSCN6728

It’s Not Easy Being Green

The first thing I did after accepting the Lady Liberty Waver position was go online and search for green face paint. Not just any green – it had to be a copper green patina so I could create an authentic Statue of Liberty face. The goal was to have it blend in with the costume.

Painting my face would be fun and I was all about making the job fun. Also, as a new employee of Liberty Tax Service, I was committed to doing everything I could to help market the business. Having a green face was one way I’d stand out and get people to notice my Lady Liberty.

DSCN6989

 

I found Mehron Liberty Green makeup on eBay described as “Statue of Liberty Zombie.” When the tiny 3” makeup tube arrived I was concerned that the 1 oz. supply would only last for one or two applications but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. A little goes a long way and so far I’ve managed to get six applications out of it. I think next time I’m going to have to cut the tube open and scrape off whatever cream is left clinging to the walls for my final green face.

 

 

DSCN6949The consistency is very smooth and it doesn’t crack when it dries. I use water and a paper towels to wipe it off after my shift. It comes off so easily and quickly. I recommend this product, and I can only assume that the rest of Mehron’s makeup line is equally as good.

 

I had a Ben Nye face painting kit already at home so I was excited to think of other makeup designs for Lady Liberty. My palette includes white, green, red, blue, yellow and black. I painted on an American flag one day. It was a rush job, but still, I think it provided a dramatic effect from the street.

DSCN6504I applied a green shamrock with some silver sparkle on my cheek for St. Patrick’s Day. I haven’t done any elaborate designs since my red, white and blue day. I think it would be cool to do something metallic or sparkly but I haven’t come up with an appropriate design yet. I’ve also considered painting a bold star on my eyes or spattering tiny ones down the side of my face. I welcome any suggestions. What do you think?

There was one other bit of research that had to be done before I hit the streets and that was to add some classic dance moves to my repertoire. I came across this YouTube video, which was inspiring and hilarious!

But that’s a completely different story, and a description of my dance follies will have to wait for a future post. For some of you, the mere thought of Costumed Mama performing some of these moves is enough to keep you laughing until the real Lady Liberty video is released.

DSCN6891

 

As you can see my car looks like a homeless street performer’s cart. I continue to acquire more props to have at the ready, and my next post will focus on these one-of-a-kind toys. I’ll tell you were I found some, how I made others and how I’ve incorporated them into my street routine to keep things fresh.

 

Be sure to subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button and you won’t miss a Costumed Mama update.