Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On My Way to Where the Air is Sweet

There's just something about meeting a celebrity that can reduce the most self-assured, confident people to fits of nervous giggles. And when that celebrity is someone you've watched on television since childhood, it can be an unnerving experience. You might think I'm talking about a politician here. Or perhaps a famous musician. Or maybe even a movie star. Nope. I'm talking about a furry blue monster who stands a couple feet tall.

That's right, at the BlogHer conference, I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite Muppets, Grover, and the man who brings him to life, Eric Jacobson. I have to say that speaking to Grover was more disconcerting than speaking to a room full of fellow bloggers. There's just something about talking to someone's hand, even if it is covered in blue fur, that's a little strange. I'd be a little worried what that says about me except that I heard person after person tell Grover things like, "I can't believe I'm getting to meet you!" and "I still have the Grover doll I got when I was one year old!" I saw one person even tear up while meeting her cute, adorable pal, Grover.


Grover with Eric Jacobson

I spoke with Eric Jacobson, who, by the way, sounded nothing like Grover while talking to me. Eric is the voice of Grover and Miss Piggy, among others and has been for 10 years, when he succeeded Frank Oz. I asked Eric how long it took him to learn to move the puppet while saying his lines in the appropriate voice and staying out of view from the camera. He joked, "Let's see... I've been doing this 14 years now..."

"Did you put on puppet shows for your family and friends when you were a kid? Did you always want to be a puppeteer?" I inquired. "I put on puppet shows as much as any other kid, but I never thought, "Wow, I want to be a puppeteer when I grow up!" Eric answered.

"You've obviously gotten to meet and work with a lot of celebrities over the last ten years. Do any moments stick out in your mind as being especially remarkable?" He told me one of the biggest highlights was when singer Paul Simon asked him and Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo, to join him on a PBS special "Celebrating the Music of Paul Simon." Paul wrote a version of The 59th Street Bridge Song for Grover and Elmo to sing to him.

When I asked him which character he liked doing the best, he told me that Grover was his favorite Muppet. Eric and Ellen Lewis Gideon, Vice President of Corporate Communications, agreed that it's difficult to choose just one when Jim Henson and Frank Oz have created such interesting and fun characters with such depth and unique qualities. We went on to talk about how Sesame Street is so enjoyable for both kids and adults.

"It's really like a big family, " says Ellen who told me that although the production crew isn't on staff, the same people come back to work season after season. "We've been together for thirty years. And the writers are amazing," said Ellen. They write on two levels so kids are entertained while learning and parents enjoy watching as well." That's true, isn't it? If I was forced to watch some of the shows that my kids like, I would have to claw out my eyes and stab my eardrums. Not Sesame Street. We not only like that fact that it's good, educational and fun for our children, but we parents remember watching the show back when we were kids too. Who could ever forget Mr. Hooper? Or, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...6, 7, 8, 9, 10...11, 12? Or the ladybug picnic?

Speaking of all those great clips we remember from when we were kids, Sesame Street is launching a new website on August 11 that will feature over 3000 video clips of the show. I can't wait to fill my sister's inbox with clips accompanied by exclamations of, "Do you remember this one?" I got a chance to preview their new website and it's super child friendly, easy to use, and has some great parental controls to ensure online safety. I just know that SesameStreet.com is going to be Clay and Lexi's favorite new site come August 11th.


Me with Abby Cadabby


Puppeteer Leslie Carrara-Rudolph

I don't know who is cuter - Abby Cadabby or her bubbly puppeteer, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph.

Grover pic

Me with Grover


anti - ethnocentric said...

I adore that you and Grover have the exact same expression. That is PRICELESS!

Anonymous said...

My daughter would have LOVED to meet Abby Cadabby!!

VDog said...

You're so cute.

You're up with Carl on my blog.

Nice meeting you!

Michelle said...

You and Grover are making the same face in the bottom picture!

Anonymous said...

First of all, LOVE Sesame Street and loved watching it as a child and as a parent. My husband was fortunate enough as a child to have met Jim Henson! Anyway, I just received this email and instantly thought of you and your blog and wanted to share:


It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe.

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my child to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Great Job, MOM!

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know...I just did.

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

The Invisible Mother.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, You have just lived my life long dream! You are sooooo lucky!

Anonymous said...

I've gotta say: YOU are really cute with that haircut! LOVE IT!

B&K said...

How adorable is that pic of you with Grover at the end!! OMG your hair looks fabulous!! I so envy you -- you got to meet GROVER!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! You didn't meet A celebrity, you met a FEW celebrities!! It looks like you had a blast!

LOVE the 1,2,3,4,5..6,7,8,9,10..11,12! A local radio station here near Philly plays that little ditty every morning with a call-in contest. I still love it!

Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures. By the way, your hair is SOOO cute!

Donna in PA :)

Michelle said...

Awwww! That's so sweet and so cute! And I love how the puppeteers hide out of view of the camera when you get your pictures taken. I think my ego is too big to have that job!

Great side additions to the convention. I want SO badly to know where it will be next year!

Anonymous said...

you and grover look so pretty! this picture is amazing because you have that special glow and grover, well, he's blue, that's great.

more pictures!!


Trish said...

Okay, I admit it. I've been busy and haven't been keeping up with my blog reading lately. I can't even claim the "busy mom" excuse because you are four kids ahead of me and would, quite understandably, roll your eyes at my whining. Does working mom of two and grad school student count for a little sympathy?? I didn't think so....

Anyway, when I DID get time to blog read and checked out your blog, I was so happy for you! Dawn, you look FABULOUS! I mean, you always did look fabulous, but you are looking particularly fab! The haircut is sizzling, and you must be working out or something because you just GLOW. --Ooooh. Wait a second...are you pregnant....again? :)

In all seriousness, you look wonderful. Send a bit of the glow my way! As long as it isn't pregnancy related....

Have a great day!

Jenn said...

SOO COOL! I would have been in a fit to have met anyone off of sesemee street.... My FAVORITE WORLD!
any way.....
Go read and play along if you want too.

L&F said...

OMG...my absolutely favourtie thing on Sesame Street is when they make the orange crayon! I could still watch that with the same amount of intensity at age 32 as I did at age 4...I keep hoping "How It's Made" on Discovery will do a crayon...

korkie said...

PLUNK!!! (the sound of me hitting the floor after reading about you meeting Grover)


Did you ever read 'The Monster at
the End of The Book?'

I must have read that book hundreds of times to my son.
It's a fun book to read!!

Sounds like you are have a brilliant time.
I'm not going to go into how envious I am ... because that's a given.

Enjoy each and every moment!!

korkie said...


I don't remember who posted the comments about the cool crocs out there.

Well, I bought a pair of ballet slipper style in a bee-uuu-tt-ful
coral color.

Thank you so very much for the link.

I love my new crocs. I'm going back for another pair.

Jill said...

That is exactly how I felt last summer when we took our three year old son to Sesame Place (think Disneyworld, only all Sesame stuff) near Philadelphia. We got to meet all the characters and have a great album full of our son with each one. It's a hidden gem because so many people aren't aware that there is such a place. I, too, got a little teary when meeting Grover - my all time favorite, too.

Shan said...

I'm so totally with you about Sesame Street! The ring tone on my phone is the "1,2,3,4,5..." song, and when it goes off anyone around me that's our age always gets a laugh! And it's really cool because my parents can watch with my son because they remember the stuff from watching with me!

Brenda said...

Awwwwwww. I love Grover. It sounds like a neat experience.

Valarie said...

How awesome! I always try to picture what the people must look like when I hear the voices of the puppets. Grover and Miss Piggy.....those would totally be the two I would choose to be!! :)
P.S. You look FABULOUS in that last picture!

Anonymous said...

I loved Grover as a kid! I am soo jealous. I wasn't at BlogHer!

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed to see how much Eric and Grover look alike.

Anonymous said...

I'm so jealous that you got to meet Grover! One of my college pals, Peter Linz, is a puppeteer/muppeteer, having worked for awhile on Sesame Street, as well as Bear In The Big Blue House, Between the Lions, and It's A Big Big World (he's Snook, and Oko, and it was the first time I heard Peter's "voice" as the character in Snook.)

It's been about 8 years since I've seen him, but we keep in touch via email.

Love hearing about your wonderful time. Sounds like BlogHer was a BLAST!

Kellan said...

Hey Dawn - That was a great interview you did with Eric Jacobson! I had my video taken with Abby Cadabby, for my daughter Alexis' birthday -what a gift!

I so enjoyed meeting you at BlogHer and spending some time with you. You are darling.

Take care - Kellan

DysFUNctional Mom said...

What an honor! I want to meet Elmo.
Glad you had fun at BlogHer.

AlaneM said...

Oh I am SO jealous! I'd love to tell grover I'm sorry I was so scared of him when I was 3. I know now that he's the coolest monster on the planet & I'd love to hug that furry blue head.
Neat to see them with their 'people' too. I've only ever seen them on the show.
Be sure to let us know when that website launches - I get the feeling it will be way better than looking up clips on youtube.

Anonymous said...

this is the first time for me to see your site.
you have 3girls and 3boys? How wonderful! I have 2boys and a girl.
They are my tresure ( sometimes problem,though...)
Please visit my site.It is written in Japanese,but show some pictures.
baratch family

Heather said...

You are so lucky!!!! We are all Muppet freaks in this house, even our daughter. When she was three years old, she could even name the minor roles in the Muppets like Janice and Dr. Teeth. But Grover is our favorite!!! I can do his voice very well as well as Elmo.

Mabunny said...

Oh you and Grover look so cute together! I would love to have met him! I learned to count to 10 in Spanish from Sesame Street! I can't wait to see that website! Thanks for the heads up!

Trish said...

My sister and I threw a ladybug picnic a few years ago, and were disappointed because no one else our age remembered it! We sang the song all the time!! Thanks for being cool enough to remember!

Colleen said...

I ♥ Grover AND Sesame Street!

I've been trying to get my kids to like it as much as they like the other crap they watch (in my opinion, Playhouse Disney is *OK*, but doesn't hold a candle to those old SS clips!

Case in point:

I would have been among the first in line to see Grover at BlogHer!!!

Rick said...

Hair was still looking good.

M. Biddle said...

First....your hair looks fantabulous!!!!!!!

Second, thank you for posting these photos and telling about meeting Grover's "handler".

I can't wait to show this to my son when I get home tonight!

Asianmommy said...

Hey, that is so cool! It's nice to see the person behind the character. It's easy to forget that they're even there!

kmorales4 said...

OMG! I feel so silly about how excited that post made me. Cookie is my all time favorite though. Bert and Ernie follow. Then Big Bird, Kermit, Snuffy (I really don't know how to spell the whole name and I bet 98% of humans can't either), Count and that incredibly funny talk show host that hardly ever came out. Goodness I'm so pathetic.

P.S. I'm not really embarrassed to love Sesame Street, however if you see me watching those darn teletubbies voluntarily, call a looney bin QUICK.

ummmhello said...

I LOVE Sesame Street!!!! My kids don't appreciate it, since they've grown to expect everything to look like a Pixar movie.

Richie said...

Is it just me or does that guy look kinda like Grover?

kris said...

Grover was always my absolute favorite!! "The Monster at the End of the Book" (I think that's the one, LOL) was my favorite with him. Love your blog!
Kris :)

Bubba's Sis said...

I'm so jealous you got to meet Grover! I love him! I was a Sesame Street kid for sure - remember all those things (I loved the ladybug picnic!). I can't wait for the website!

Corey said...

I think they are both cute, but Leslie would be a better house guest and Abby Cadabby. I wish I had 10% of her talent.

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