Friday, December 29, 2006

More domestic goddess-hood

Fixed one last mince pie for TW (I still think it tastes nasty but it does make the kitchen smell good) last night, and tonight it was my maiden attempt at pot roast. TW had had some very good pot roast at an "Irish pub" while we were spending Christmas w/ my family so I promised him that when we got home, I'd hunt through the cookbooks for a good recipe for the pot roast in the freezer. Found a likely-looking recipe, used merlot for the liquid (might try a cabernet sauvignon next time), results weren't bad.

TW gave me kitchen Christmas presents - a very nice replacement rolling pin, the 75th-anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking (my 1970s edition will go out to the cabin), and this measuring/chopping thing. I've already inaugurated two of them; the pot roast recipe came from my new Joy of Cooking and I used the chopper on the onions, carrots & celery. In general I was quite pleased with it - the fact that you don't have to dump the chopped stuff into something else to measure it is a huge plus - but it didn't like the outer few layers of my onions. That's OK; it was still a time-saver. The biggest "chunk" setting cut the carrots into nice, "polite" bites; I can see I'll be using it a lot when I make soup.

Before we left town for Christmas I made some mini-Bundt cakes for neighbor Christmas presents. I managed only one delivery before we left; made the second this evening and will probably make the last delivery tomorrow. When I made the mini-Bundts, I also made a full-size one, half of which went to the neighbor who takes in our papers and mail when we're out of town. I hope he liked chocolate-chip cake.

I also promised TW an apple cake; that'll happen tomorrow or Sunday. That's a great one, especially when I get the proportions so that I have just barely enough batter to hold the apple bits together. The house will smell soooooooo good! I'll get to use another funny kitchen gadget for that one - the one that peels, cores, and spiral-slices the apples all at one time. Messy and kind of a pain to clean up, but fun to use. And the thinner apple bits mean I can pack them into cakes and pies more densely - more apple is very definitely better!

TW wants turkey in gravy for dinner before he leaves, and I'll also fix a pot of veggie-beef soup. A lot of this is therapy, I guess; making some of TW's favorites before he heads off to 6 months of chow-hall food. Both of us are eating well for now, though I may well get lazy in the kitchen once I no longer have someone to cook for. :)

More bad news

TW got back from a last-minute eye appointment w/ the news that the eye doctor thinks he may have glaucoma in one eye! He has to go back Tuesday to find out for sure whether he has glaucoma or just an unusual optic nerve. It won't keep him from deploying, though; if it turns out that TW does indeed have glaucoma, the doc will just give him a 6-month supply of drops for the eye.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Not much longer

TW is deploying again. Leaves Tuesday for another 6 months. We've done this before - he was recalled to active duty after 9/11, while he was still in the Reserves - but that time he was able to get leave about three months into his first 6-month tour, and then came home for 3 weeks to get new orders before going out for another 5 months. This time he won't get any time off - he'll get on that plane Tuesday night and I won't see him again until July. Until now I've been doing a really good job of not thinking about it, but now that his departure is almost upon us, that's no longer possible. I'm gonna hafta keep myself very busy the next 6 months so I don't sit home missing him and feeling sorry for myself.

Care to be a laird or a lady?

Found this on someone else's blog: I can think of at least 2 ladies of my acquaintance to whom I'll be pointing this out...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas is gonna be late this year.

At least it will be for anyone expecting something in the mail from TW or me. The computer ate our Christmas card list, so while I'm waiting for the plumber to call back, I'm just starting to rebuild it. Can't find last year's hardcopy, but TW kept the envelopes from last year's cards, so that will be a big help with the names he wants on the list. (Smart man!) With any luck, I'll get the list rebuilt today, but I don't expect we'll have time to buy cards (we don't have nearly as many left from last year as he thought), let alone address them and all, until we get to my parents' for Christmas. Maybe we'll do Christmas cards New Year's Eve. Oh, wait, he wants to swap the guest room and the "library" (with my computer desk and 5 bookshelves) the day after we get back home; we may need all weekend to do that.

Presents for the nieces and nephews are going into our luggage, so those will be on time, but the few that need to be mailed (including one going to England) are already late. Fortunately, those are all going to adults, who'll forgive me. I hope. ;)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The timing could have been better...

Friends coming for dinner today so TW & I spent yesterday cleaning, decluttering, etc. We were down to just the kitchen and back bathroom to do when the kitchen faucet broke. Just great - no water from the kitchen sink until we get a plumber in! At least it held off until after we'd finished last night's dinner dishes, but while we wait for said plumber, doing dishes in the bathroom is gonna get old. Ah well, at least we do have water and the bathrooms are still fully functional.

Not like the time a roommate and I were having a cast party for a local production of Merry Widow. There we were, with a houseful of thirsty singers, when someone from the water company came knocking on the door to warn us that they were going to have to turn off the main to do some emergency repairs. They did give us time to fill some buckets w/ water, but still...

Monday, December 11, 2006

That went well, I think.

Another audition last night, for a local production of Urinetown. The first of two advertised nights of auditions, the first audition number available was 20. Wonder if they had invited auditions ahead of the advertised dates?

The routine was that you got up, sang your piece, let the MD decide whether he wanted to hear you vocalize a bit, then read a bit you brought with you (thank you, o Theater Mentor mine - they liked that piece you sent me!). After my turn, the director asked me if I could do a "trick voice". Huh? I replied with a silly voice, but that apparently wasn't what he was looking for. He asked another person the same question; she was similarly clueless. (I dunno - Donald Duck? Betty Boop?) The dance sequence was one of the longest I've ever had to do for an audition, but I had fun. I always do.

A few people were asked to return tonight. Although they seemed to like my audition, I wasn't asked back, presumably because being committed to a show that closes only 2 weeks before this one opens means I'd be unavailable for far too many rehearsals. It wasn't a waste of my time, though. A new group of directors got to hear me sing and see me move; with any luck, they'll remember liking what they saw the next time I audition for them.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A weekend in the country

Just got back from the cabin. They had a little bit of snow out there this week, just enough that there were a few thin patches in the shadier spots. Bitter cold when we got in, too - 21 degrees outside, and only 39 degrees inside! As we were bringing things in from the car, TW asked why I still had my coat on, hood up, and scarf over my face: "Because I'm freezing!" (Asthma just hates it when the temps get below freezing, so I'm forced to take precautions.)

We had all kinds of things for the cabin - new sheets for the additional bed, a free-standing TP holder (I was surprised at how difficult it was to find one that wasn't top-heavy and which secured the roll from both ends), a few more warm shirts for TW. We also took our Christmas videos - Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol. It was lovely to sit and snuggle on the couch while we watched these old favorites, though I was surprised to learn the Grinch came out in 1966! I hadn't thought it was as old as that.

Cold though it was, it was also sunny and clear. Even now, when all the deciduous trees are bare, it's lovely to look out the windows at trees. We can see all our neighbors now (few of the lots are more than 1 1/4 acres), but the trees mask them. This morning TW looked out the window of our new bedroom to see three deer snacking nearby. There are fewer birds and squirrels at this time of year, but there are still a few. Sure beats listening to traffic!

And it's so nice to have all the work finished and the construction debris cleaned up so we can start decorating. Right now we have absolutely nothing on the windows in the addition, so first order of business is to get blinds or shades. We've picked a curtain fabric that will look wonderful with the wall paint. Now to figure out how much I need to buy, and how much lining fabric, to make curtains for all six bedroom windows.

We've already bought towel bars for the rehabbed bathroom and will install them next trip (need to buy the right size drill bit first). I think I may also run up some light curtains to cover the shelves and the cubbyhole where we stash the ShopVac. Oriental rugs now grace the foyer and new bedroom, the console table I've had for ages is now in the foyer, as is the 3-gallon crock we picked up a while ago for an umbrella stand.

We need a storage cabinet, towel bars and such for the new bathroom, though we have a small rack that will do. I'm also keeping my eye out for a new bedspread for the new bedroom that will look good but not cost the earth. We also need to bring out another area rug for that bedroom; the wood floor is lovely but chilly under bare feet. Both bathrooms also need some sort of rug, though we can make do with towels until we find what we want. Eventually we'll get some picture rail hooks and clear line to hang pictures in the new bedroom too, but it already looks homey with the bed in it and the rugs down.

Yes, it's a lovely place and we feel blessed to have it. My folks feel the same way - every time I mention it to Mom, she says that "I'm so glad you have that place." What can I do but agree?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's beginning to look a bit like Christmas.

Yeah, I know, that's not exactly how the words go, but my version is closer to the truth. Finally did my first Christmas "decorating" - got the Christmas Tree dishes out last night, and tonight I put away the regular dishes and put the Christmas Tree dishes in the cabinets.

I also did a bit of baking - one mincemeat and one pumpkin pie. The mincemeat is strictly for TW: he loves the stuff, I can't stand it. Unfortunately, we had a casualty; my grandmother's rolling pin tried to escape its bath, rolled off the counter and landed handle first, breaking said handle clean off. Not only did it have sentimental value because it was my grandmother's, but it was a really good rolling pin - rolled very smoothly and had a good, even weight. TW wants to try to fix it, but given the splinters where the handle broke off, I'm not optimistic. I told him he can get me a replacement for Christmas. It's a good thing I didn't have any big plans to do any more baking that involves rolling out dough. I tried doing a pie crust without a rolling pin last year, when TW & I spent Thanksgiving w/ my folks. I just squished and patted the dough into place; let's just say it was a good thing it was covered by the pie filling.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fixing a hole where the ...

Poor TW! He was repairing our living room floor tonight - two of the original floorboards had cracked in one spot and finally broke completely over the weekend. He pulled out the broken bits (I came home from work to find a hole in the living room floor!), took a couple of scrap floorboards left from the new floor out at the cabin and trimmed them to size, then started trying to put the new boards in. Two problems with that: they're tongue-and-groove, so you can't just drop 'em in, and the new boards are slightly thicker than the 80-year-old originals, with a slightly different alignment of tongue and groove. TW finally tented the two replacement boards and managed to get them in side by side. However, in pushing them into place he didn't move his hand out of the way quite fast enough and pinched a lengthy section along the heel of his thumb. Yeowch!! He hollered big time, and no wonder - those boards removed a 3-inch-long and quarter-inch-wide chunk out of the base of his thumb! =:o It was his dominant hand, of course, so I had to be the one to put the ointment and bandage on it.

But he fixed the broken floorboards, so we no longer have to worry about putting a foot through into the basement.

Good day? Bad day?

Not sure about yesterday. Started off uncomfortable, waking up w/ a headache and then going out into the cold (in the 20s). Then yesterday afternoon I learned they don't want me to be acting supervisor any more. Part of me was feeling "I screwed up, I failed, nobody loves me, guess I'll go eat worms". Mostly I'm relieved, but I couldn't help but wonder how this would affect my year-end performance eval, so I asked about that this morning. Both my immediate supervisor and her boss said they appreciated that I had volunteered for a job nobody else wanted ("You stepped up when everybody else jumped back 6 feet" was how my first boss put it), so I guess that's not bad.

Only Wednesday and already it's been a long week - I've put in at least 30 hours so far. We had 2 key people out sick today, and between that and people trying to burn their use-or-lose leave before the end of the year, I don't see the workload easing until I get back from Christmas. (Two more weeks - if I can just get through 2 more weeks...)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Just one audition this month; a local theater (with a small space) is having auditions for "Urinetown" this weekend. They open just 2 weeks after my current show closes so they'll probably look at my rehearsal conflicts and say "You're kidding, right?" but what the heck - nothing ventured, nothing gained.

At my lesson yesterday, my teacher thanked me for keeping her posted on my auditions. Thinking about that on my way home, I decided that maybe it's part of my learning. Figuring out how I think I did, then organizing my reaction enough to describe it to someone who wasn't there forces me to do a little analysis of how I did. Why did I think it went well or poorly? How did it feel - solid, shaky, too soon after dinner...? What kind of reaction did I get? I've had 'em laughing at an over-the-top piece, and when I auditioned w/ "I Hate Men" with company #1 last month, one dad of 2 auditioners in the front row commented when I finished that "We love you!" One of many reasons I'll probably audition for that company again. ;)

Friday, December 01, 2006

The results are in.

... and I will not be doing Into the Woods with either company #1 or #2. Ah well, so it goes. #2's "thanks but no thanks" e-mail was more personal than just a mass "so sorry, can't use you, please try again", and #1's was probably the nicest "thanks but no thanks" I've gotten to date.

So the scorecard now reads: 5 auditions, 3 callbacks, 2 chorus positions; not bad. Unfortunately, this means I only have one show to look forward to at the moment, so now I'm itching for the local companies to start posting their January audition dates so I can start filling up my calendar.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prepping the driveway for spring

Incredible weather today! Probably got close to 70 degrees and sunny (hard to believe it'll be December tomorrow!), so when I got home I decided to plant the crocus bulbs I meant to plant a month or more ago. All 60 (24 "giant" crocuses and 40 regular ones, assorted colors) went into the dirt down the center of the driveway, so it should look nicely and colorful come March.

The mazus reptans I planted in the driveway this spring is hanging in there, barely. At least one of the 4 plants has spread, but not one of them still looks green in the center. I'll see how they get through winter, but for now I'm thinking I won't be planting any more. I'll probably just move some vinca or pachysandra there; heaven knows, I've got plenty of vinca in various beds around the house and in the back yard.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Scorecard so far

Since August I've auditioned for 5 shows:
  • Urinetown: blew my audition song when the accompanist started before I was quite ready and I let myself get flustered. Not cast.
  • Patience: called back for a lead when all I'd requested was chorus - very encouraging! Ended up in the chorus.
  • Ruddigore: called back for a named chorus part despite having auditioned when I had a cold; ended up in the chorus.
  • Into the Woods #1: called back for a trio of moms, still waiting to hear. (At this point, I'm assuming they've contacted all the leads and are starting on the "thanks but no thanks" calls or e-mails.)
  • Into the Woods #2: not called back; haven't heard anything yet, so I'm assuming I'm not cast.
That's 5 auditions and 3 callbacks - pretty darn good. Obviously I'd be happier if I'd been cast, or been offered something other than chorus, but it's encouraging.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

G, I love it!

Moogie "assigned" me a letter - 10 things I love that begin w/ G. So here goes, in no particular order:

1. Great news on Mom's latest scans!
2. the great Guy I'm married to
3. my Girlfriends
4. Grass between bare toes
5. Green stuff instead of concrete out at the cabin
6. Gardening - I'm a haphazard gardener at best, mostly just going on spring & fall planting binges, but I still love to see things grow.
7. the Group I sing with at church
8. Gettin' down to music - any excuse to dance!
9. a Generous spirit - seems that's a common trait of all my favorite people
10. Getting a letter instead of junk mail, bills and the like

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thoughts on auditions

I've now finished all my November auditioning. I'm in the chorus of the 1st show I auditioned for this month and am waiting to hear from 2 companies about their respective productions of Into The Woods. Company #2 is having their callbacks Monday night; if I haven't heard anything from them by tomorrow night, I guess I'll assume I'm not cast. Which is OK, because there are lots of other May & June shows to audition for.

I don't envy the directors of either company. From what I saw on Sunday night and the latter half of Monday night, company #1 could easily cast the show 3 or 4 times over in some roles. Company #2 could do an entire under-20 cast, or do one cast each with Broadway- and classical-style voices, or .... Before I left company #2's auditions Tuesday night, I wished the director a happy Thanksgiving, wished her luck with the casting and told her I didn't envy her the process.

Very interesting to see what kinds of auditioners two different companies got for the same show. #1 got a wide range of ages, from children who looked as young as 6 or 7, through teens and 20s, straight through to a few who might have been in their 60s or even 70. I was interested to note that the youngest auditioners sang their pieces a capella and the few who forgot their words didn't get flustered or upset, just started over, or la-la-la'ed until they got back on track. One of the youngest auditioners looked young enough that I wondered if she'd be able to read some of the bigger words in the monologue everyone had to read, but I guess she'd heard it often enough from others by the time her turn came around that she didn't seem to have any trouble.

Perhaps because so very many people turned out, they took auditioners in groups of 10: each would sing his or her audition piece till all 10 in the group had sung, then each of the 10 would read the monologue, then all 10 would get up on the "stage" (platform about 4" above the floor) to do the movement combination. In one or two cases when someone auditioned a capella, the MD would ask them to sing Happy Birthday w/ accompaniment, and in nearly all cases the MD asked for a scale starting at F. After each group finished these 3 events, the 2 directors would put their heads together and ask a few to stay on. That was when the directors would have different combinations of people read the same scene or two.

By contrast, most of the auditioners for company #2, at least the night I auditioned, seemed to be high school or college age. As I was filling out my paperwork, I heard them tell one hopeful that there were no children in this show. (#1 is apparently creating things for a chorus and children to do, while #2 is doing it with the casting pretty much as written.) One young man (middle school age?) did audition, but he's already had a few major roles with the company, so perhaps they're letting him try for Jack.

These auditions went much more quickly - they heard 45 or 50 people in a little over 2 hours, so that we were all dismissed by about 9:15. But then, these were run differently: the MD let most people get through only the first chunk of their audition piece (in a few cases, he warned the singer that he'd be starting somewhere in the middle because the first section didn't show off enough range). He then asked for a scale, then a top, bottom, and middle note, not necessarily in that order. After all of us had sung for the MD, we were herded onto the stage (yes, all of us at once!) to learn the movement combo. This one was closer to choreography than what company #1 asked for, but still not terribly complicated. After the choreographer had us all go through it a few times, she then had half of us do it, then told off 8 names at a time so she could watch us do it "for real". And that was it - no one read; presumably that will happen at callbacks.

It was interesting to see what kinds of songs the younger auditioners picked. One girl picked a song much too low for her voice; the MD had her do a couple of different scales and lectured her gently on choosing a piece better suited to her voice. (He can be dictatorial but is generous with advice and nurturing young talent.) I think a lot of them just pick something they like and know well. Company #2 got a much higher percentage of male auditioners, too (most of them in that under-20 group), at least the night I was there, and I've already mentioned the difference in the ages of the auditioners. And while both companies wanted to see how well we moved, only #2, which has presented some impressive production numbers in previous musicals, has enlisted a choreographer in addition to the stage & music directors.

Before I left for #2's auditions, TW asked me how many of the folks would be there who'd also auditioned for #1. I told him I wouldn't know until I got there. I did see a few familiar faces, but not all that many; I guess the 2 companies are just far enough apart that there isn't that much overlap in their audition pools.

The biggest thing to be thankful for!

Mom got her detailed scan results on Tuesday. Everything is getting better, chemo is definitely working, but the biggest and best news is that the tumor is a little less than half the size it was when they first discovered it back in September!!! So instead of taking November off and doing 3 weeks of radiation in December, Mom will be doing another 3 rounds of chemo (round 4 was last week). She's pleased because she's been tolerating the chemo pretty well, and relieved because the radiation carried a risk of liver and kidney damage. Yes, we have a lot to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Burning the candle at both ends

So last night I went to callbacks, which were held on the heels of regular auditions. They didn't start having us read until 9:15 or 9:30 and didn't get to me (there were lots of us!) until 10 or 10:30, and I didn't sing until 11 p.m. And what was first? The highest lick, of course - Jack's mother, which tops out at a G. Not in my comfort zone, and I was fighting congestion (colds just hang on forever), and hadn't sung since I'd warmed up 2 1/2 hours earlier. I just hope those top notes weren't too screechy. I didn't notice any hands clapped over ears, and no one fled the theater, but maybe they were just being polite. ;) So I got to sing some exposed high (for me) notes when I was tired and no longer warmed up, then didn't get home until 11:30. I'm tired!!! Callbacks continue tomorrow night, and they've already warned us it could be "a coupla weeks" before they get back to all of us. Given the flocks of people who auditioned, I can see where it will take a long time to send all those e-mails or make all those calls.

One more audition tonight. I'm sincerely hoping that I'll be able to leave as soon as I've sung my piece so I can come home and get a little sleep before we hit the road at 0500 tomorrow. zzzzzz

Monday, November 20, 2006

audition, callback, audition...

Busy, busy, busy! Auditioned for Into the Woods w/ company #1 last night, was one of 14 asked to stay to read after everyone had sung & done the movement combo (dbl grapevine in each direction, 2 jazz squares, then skip - mindless & fun). The best part was that the accompanist would get bored easily between singers and would start playing - showtunes, Beatles, that sorta thing - and people would start humming or singing along. First time I ever came across a sing-along at an audition! Anyway, they called me back, so it's off to their little (like 20'x40' - very intimate space!) theater again tonight to sing & read some more. Tomorrow I audition for company #2's Into the Woods, but first I'll need to pack, as TW and I leave early Wednesday morning (maybe 5 am) to spend Thanksgiving at his mother's. Can't wait to get there and just sit for a bit - no alarms, no deadlines. Heck, since her kitchen is tiny and we're in a hotel (I"m allergic to the dog), I don't even have to cook.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

That's one wait over.

Got an e-mail offering me a position in the chorus for Ruddigore. Sigh. Part of me is rather chuffed that I made it to callbacks at all, if only for a tiny role, given that I auditioned w/ a cold, but still.

On my way out of callbacks last night, I was asking a friend whether he was called back for Old Adam, to which he replied that was about the only thing he wasn't called back for. I started teasing him about being called back for, oh, the lead soprano. He chuckled and said the role he really wants is the Duchess of Plaza-Toro in the Gondoliers (he's a bass-baritone). I jumped on that, said that sounded good, and could I play the Duke? So that's the plan - if I ever hold a G&S sing-in, I'll program Gondoliers (which I would anyway) so he can sing the Duchess and I can sing the Duke. Maybe I should ask him to regrow his mustache for the occasion; it was such a lovely one. :D

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Mom had CAT and PET scans yesterday, but won't have any results until Friday at the earliest. She's not worrying about the wait - not like September, when we were waiting and waiting for her biopsy results - but I'm impatient for her sake and want to know now how much effect the chemo has had on her tumor.

In other waiting news, I'm also waiting to learn how I did at Ruddigore callbacks tonight. Did I get the named chorus role I was called back for (along with 6 others)?

And I'm setting myself up for yet more waiting: two different companies are doing Into The Woods come spring and I plan to audition for both - one company on Saturday, the other on Tuesday.

Perhaps the cynics were right.

Here we are, one week to the day after the mid-term elections, and I notice the gas prices are already starting to inch back up - paid 2 or 3 cents/gallon more yesterday than a week ago. Wonder how long it'll be before we're back to paying around $3/gallon again?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November audition #1

My first of a slew of November auditions (G&S's Ruddigore) was Thursday night, so naturally I woke up w/ a sore throat Wednesday; sure sign that I was getting a cold. By Thursday night, despite zinc lozenges, orange juice, hot tea, etc., I had to go with the lower of the two audition pieces I'd prepared. I didn't hate how my voice felt, but I wasn't terribly pleased, either. However, I must have read fairly well because I did get invited to callbacks on Tuesday. Not for either of the roles I wanted, but for one of the two named choristers. Zorah & Ruth are both tiny parts; Zorah, a soprano role, sings one or two solo lines and ends up w/ the tenor. Ruth sings only w/ the rest of the chorus and has only one or two spoken lines; a very tiny part. The director is considering giving some of Zorah's singing to Ruth, depending on who's cast and their ranges. Zorah being a soprano role, her stuff sits a little high for me, but maybe at my voice lesson tomorrow we can figure something out.

I've been called back for small roles for this company before (Bridesmaid in Trial by Jury, Hebe in HMS Pinafore) but wasn't cast. Part of me is resigned, part of me is hoping the third time will be the charm.

Monday, November 06, 2006

That's that; on to the next....

The set is struck, the costumes turned back in, everyone gone home. I'm home today recovering from 5 performances in 4 days. This being my first time back on stage in nearly a year and a half, I'd forgotten how tired I get after a show. And how hungry! We had a potluck between the matinee & evening performances Saturday and I'm still marveling at how much I ate! Not as much as a teenage boy, but still more than I usually would.

It's always a let-down when a show closes, but with most companies you at least get a second weekend to do the show, with the intervening week to rest up a little. Not like this schedule - the Tech Week crescendo to Opening Night, 5 shows in 4 days, then boom - nothing! The first day after is hardest - no more contact w/ the rest of the cast after the enforced intimacy of sharing a crowded dressing room or backstage area.

Anyway, today I'm just sitting around, not doing much more than catching up a little around the house - laundry and such. Not even a voice lesson, since my teacher's heat went out, so we'll reschedule once her studio is warm again. Then I'll have one more lesson before my audition on Thursday. I'll ask to be considered for both the mezzo leads, but I can think of 4 or 5 other mezzos off the top of my head who've done leads for the company who could easily knock me out of contention. Given that I'm still solidifying my vocal technique, I'll be pleased if I just get a callback out of this audition. I'll probably accept chorus, if only because I want to get back on this company's radar before I audition for their "Pirates of Penzance" come spring. I really want to play Ruth!

Friday, November 03, 2006

One down, four to go

Wednesday's dress didn't go too badly. Good thing I have my own gloves, as the costumers didn't have anything to replace the pair of men's gloves they'd laid out for me, which were too big and had a broken wrist closure. I did have one big costume problem, though - in our second entrance I slipped on an overlong costume drape so that my feet slid right and the rest of me fell left. Thump! At least I managed to be more graceful getting up again than I was in hitting the deck. There were some weird balance things going on in the orchestra - musical cues I was expecting but not hearing - and some odd tempi, but nothing serious. Our costumes continue to develop; the ladies' closing costumes now have fetching little hats. Lovely little things, but figuring out how to secure them presented some difficulties at first. Not to mention figuring out which way they're supposed to face, where they're supposed to sit on your head - top, right, left...?

Last night was Opening Night. We had a much bigger audience than I'd expected (though I don't know the actual numbers) and they were very receptive and vocal - laughed at everything, applauded everything, and generally seemed as enthusiastic as we could possibly wish. I just hope they haven't spoiled us for subsequent audiences. ;) I think things went well - everyone in good voice, orchestra sounded good (though there was one place where we had trouble hearing a cue), good pacing. And no falls, though apparently the gazing ball got knocked off its stand at one point, and my Bunthorne badge, bearing the portrait of the poet the ladies are all mooning over, fell off during the Act I finale entrance and had not reappeared by the time I left last night. And I just realized this morning that the finger cymbals I use in that finale never made it back to me, either. I'll have to hunt up both those props as soon as I get to the theater tonight.

Costume annoyances: No one checked to make sure that those of us given men's gloves had gloves that fit. We were all supposed to get bags w/ our wreaths & blindfolds; I got a wreath, but had to ask for a blindfold. (But since I like the fabric & it goes w/ my dress, I'm keeping my mouth shut.) My dress still fastens w/ safety pins, not hooks or a zipper, the overdress is still in progress and is likewise attached w/ safety pins, and we got ribbons/streamers added at intermission last night, attached on the shoulder with - you guessed it - safety pins. If safety pins were banned from this show, most of these costumes would fall apart! And I dearly wish someone would HEM Lady Jane's dress, or at least trim it where it's fraying! The satin is lovely but it needs to be hemmed or something to keep it from fraying. That said, though, both sets of ladies' costumes do look lovely, and the men's uniforms turned out very well. The poets' costumes are great; the only ones I haven't seen are the officers' "aesthetic" costumes, because at that point I've been in the dressing room, changing into my 2nd costume and putting up my hair. It wouldn't be costume-appropriate to leave it down, not to mention that putting up my hair gives me more to pin the hat to.

This is a compressed schedule - performances Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday matinee & evening, Sunday matinee, then strike, then cast party. Whew! I'll be spending Monday getting over the worst of my theatrical withdrawal symptoms. Good thing I have an audition coming up on Thursday, and auditions the 2 or 3 weekends after that.


This year's award for cutest trick-or-treater to show up at our door has to go to the woman who showed up with her baby daughter in a snuggli. The baby, being particularly round-faced and chubby-cheeked, was already adorable, but mom had made construction-paper headbands w/ bunny ears for each of them. Baby's set was white with colored accents, while mom's had the same colors reversed. Clever and sweet.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This is a first - we open in two days, yet the show is so well in hand that the cast has tonight off! Good thing, too - by the time I got home from last night's dress rehearsal, got a nosh and something to drink (I emptied my water bottle early), scraped off the make-up and got to bed, it was 1:30. Yet I woke up at 7:30 this morning when TW came back to bed, having decided not to go into work after all. Methinks I'll be retiring early tonight, no matter how many trick-or-treaters come knocking!

For a first rehearsal w/ orchestra and costumes, it went remarkably well. I think this was the first time I've not seen at least one major train wreck w/ the orchestra, either because an audio cue sounds different on a different instrument (I know I missed one because it sounded so different played by a flute instead of the rehearsal piano) or because the orchestra is having problems with an awkward page turn, a tricky tempo change, or something similar. We had a few places where the MD stopped the action to fix something, but nothing worrisome.

The costumes are remarkably well along, considering the costumers still have today & tomorrow to work on them (I had one show where I didn't have my complete costume until opening night) and while it looks like I'll be getting a gold dress instead of the purple one I was fitted for, I like the gold one, or at least the base I wore last night - flows beautifully, and despite its floor-length, full skirt, it never once got in my way or underfoot! The "aesthetic" dresses that are completed look just wonderful - classic, graceful, elegant, rich colors. The men's uniforms are shaping up nicely, too - the jackets are actually built for the wearers, not refitted costumes, the helmets look great (though the men all complain that they're too small, which apparently makes them unstable) and resemble this sort of thing, and they're getting good at controlling their swords so they don't hit anyone during the dance in the Act II finale. Learned last night that the ladies are wearing gloves w/ their Finale costumes; not enough to go around last night, so I went on with bare hands. Later found a pair of men's gloves at my station; they're a bit big, though, so I'll probably go with a pair of my own.

The set is lovely - beautifully painted, with a good-looking, sturdy gazebo, a real gazing ball, and a "swan boat" that works quite smoothly even when loaded with 2 or 3 people and a folk harp. Hope I can get pictures of that.

So today & tomorrow are for little things - getting my theater kit sorted with only the make-up I need, making sure I've got clean tights & gloves in my bag, henna-ing my hair, and giving candy to trick-or-treaters.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Getting better

Yesterday I was feeling better, but still not 100% (still on that boring, protein-free BRAT diet). TW, however, seems to have gotten the same bug that bit me, as he woke up nauseated, was afraid to eat anything, was getting chills. Yep, he had the same low-grade fever I'd had on Friday. He did manage to start a huge batch of applesauce to use up the apples he'd bought a coupla weeks ago (used both our soup pots!), but the bug really started getting its hooks into him by mid-afternoon, so I ended up finishing the applesauce and putting him to bed before leaving for rehearsal.

Today I finally feel fully human again, though I'm introducing "real" food very carefully - I don't want to overdo and find myself tied to the bathroom again. Though still feeling crummy, TW's better too - he's eaten a little without having to run to the bathroom to get rid of it. The fever's down and he's feeling well enough to be bored & fidgety.

It's funny - when I had the bug, it was annoying, irritating and inconvenient and I was impatient to get it over with, but when TW came down with it, it was frustrating and worrying to listen to him moaning in pain and not be able to make him all better.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Once more into the breach!"

Tonight begins my first Tech Week in nearly a year and a half; can't wait! There's something special about the first run-through on the set - seeing where the actual furniture, "doors" and so on actually are, how the stairs change timing and stage pictures, learning just how far that cross really is, and of course actually seeing the set that will become our little world until Strike.

Another thing I'm looking forward to: costumes! One of the things I love about theater is getting to play dress-up; seeing us transformed from our workaday selves into (in this case) Heavy Dragoons, Rapturous Maidens, a milkmaid and a couple of poets will be fun. And then there's the fun of doing all this with the orchesta instead of a rehearsal pianist.

I haven't heard the orchestra yet; I had to miss the Sitzprobe Friday night because I was home all day w/ a GI bug. Which I'm still fighting, unfortunately. The fever only lasted through Friday, but my system is still being extremely particular about what it'll let me eat. Now, I don't mind rice, pretzels and applesauce, but they do get pretty darn boring after 2 or 3 days. Not to mention that I need to get a bit of protein if I'm going to survive the rigors of Tech Week and still have energy left for Opening Night come Thursday. Hope I can get over this thing mucho pronto!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

It's been that kind of week at work

(and yes, I realize it's only Wednesday) that I found this funnier than I otherwise might (you'll need the sound on). NB: It might not be a great idea to read this at work; depends on whether you have the office to yourself for a minute or two.

We've been short-handed, we had a brush-fire to put out on Friday that meant an 11-hour day, this week's also been nothing but long days, I've got a few things I've been putting aside for days now while tending to more urgent matters - it's gotten so I'm really looking forward to Tech Week next week. The theater types among you must be thinking, "What, is she crazy?!?" Crazy like a fox - as soon as I was cast, I put in to take off all of Tech Week and the Monday after our last performance. So if I can just survive until Friday, that's it for another 10 days!

I started arranging to take off work during Tech Week a few years ago, when I had leave I had to use up or else I'd lose it. I decided that being able to sleep in every morning after getting to bed at midnight or 1 a.m., not to mention having time to do last-minute costume construction or repairs, was a good idea - going into Opening Night when you've had enough sleep! is a wonderful experience! And I knew from previous shows with this particular company that, with all 5 performances crammed into 4 days, I'm going to be totally fried by the time we strike after the Sunday matinee. Too fried to be worth much at work the next day, so instead I'll sleep in (oooh, two lovely words!) and take my own sweet time about washing all the gel & hairspray outta my hair and the make-up outta my skin, maybe pop a movie into the DVD player. Oh, and start studying up in earnest for the wave of auditions coming up the next 3 weekends. ;)

Monday, October 23, 2006

OK, I think we've got a handle on this business.

Spent my entire voice lesson today sorting out what to use to audition for shows in very different styles (G&S, Cole Porter, and Sondheim). The G&S is easy; I'll take 2 differing G&S pieces and either do a verse of each or let the panel choose which one they want. The Cole Porter wasn't too hard, either; I've auditioned w/ "I Hate Men" before so we'll dust that off, and add "Why Can't You Behave" to show off the bottom of my range. And I do mean bottom - lowest note is F# below middle C. And with "I Hate Men" topping out at the E at the top of the staff, well, that's close enough to 2 octaves as makes no difference.

The Sondheim is the tough one; I have no Sondheim songs in my repertory and in fact, don't really know his stuff very well. I loathe "Send in the Clowns", so I'm not about to audition with that, "Everything's Coming Up Roses" requires a belt voice, which I don't have, and with all these auditions on successive weekends, I don't have time to work up a new piece. So next week I'll take to my lesson a piece we've been working on but which I haven't auditioned with yet and another, obscure piece to see if it would work. If all else fails, I'll offer the panel their choice of the 2 Kiss Me Kate pieces. And that MD is so conversant with the Broadway repertoire, I'm hoping he'd be impressed that I'd be prepared to do songs covering such a wide vocal range.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Welcome to the world, baby girl!"

I have a new niece! Little Brigid was born shortly after noon today, bringing the niece/granddaughter total to 4. Happy birthday, little one, and happy birthday, Dad/Granddad! Congratulations, proud parents and grandparents!

It occurs to me that these two - Brigid & her big sister - are the only ones of my nieces & nephews to start out w/ a full set of grandparents. My sister the new mom is the only one of the 5 of us to marry someone with both parents still living.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Make that several auditions

I've been working on rebuilding my 2006-07 season audition spreadsheet and see that several shows I'm interested in are auditioning next month (one company will be having one set of auditions for their next 3 shows). That means I'd be auditioning for as many as 4 different companies (depending on timing of casting offers or "thanks but no thanks" calls) and 6 shows. That could fill up the rest of my season very quickly indeed!

Out of 19 shows on the list at the moment, only 4 are straight plays. Having done only 1 straight play since I started doing community theater 14 (!) years ago, the thought of having lines to learn without the "crutch" of their being set to music makes me nervous. I'm sure I could do the performing, it's just the line learning that I'd worry about. Of course, that one non-musical was Shakespeare, not contemporary language, which presented unique challenges. I did it, and did manage to get pretty comfortable by opening night, but it was definitely harder than learning songs.

Lots of meaty roles out there this season - now to see how much of that meat directors are willing to offer me...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another audition on the horizon

Ah yes, fall, when the auditions start coming thick and fast. The next show I want to do, Ruddigore, auditions the weekend after Patience closes - how convenient. It'll be a challenge deciding what to audition with, though - one piece that's been successful for me is from this show, by one of the 2 characters I want to audition for. I've heard some pretty strong arguments against auditioning with a piece sung by the character you're going for (unless specified in the audition notice), so I'm a bit nervous about using it. A further complication is that I've only been using the 2nd verse, not the 1st verse and not the preceding recitative. That recit has some pretty funky chromatics and will be "interesting" to get audition-ready because I don't have a recording to work from. I'll just have to get a "karaoke" tape to work from at my next voice lesson, and maybe work with the MIDI available from the G&S Archive.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Home again

And looking forward to seeing TW when he gets home from work. Those old commercials notwithstanding, long distance is not "the next best thing to being there".

I'm glad I went, and glad I was able to spend nearly a week with my folks. It did me good to see for myself how much better Dad's getting around with his new knee and that Mom isn't nearly as gaunt and exhausted as I'd feared. Despite the hair loss (getting obvious - she'll be wearing that "cranial prosthesis" shortly), she looks pretty darned good, despite having gone thru 2 rounds of chemo now. Minimal nausea, fatigue not as bad as after the first round - she's doing better than I'd expected, and is stubborn enough and still has enough energy that she let me do only some of the dinner prep while I was home.

And I only missed one rehearsal while I was gone. I've been told by 2 of the other women that I didn't miss much, especially as several people were absent from that rehearsal, so I'm hoping it'll be a cinch to pick up the choreography I missed. That sorta thing comes easily to me, so I'm not so much worried that I won't be able to pick it up as sorry that I missed a chance to do it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So far, so good

Dad's moving around with his new knee much better than he was doing back in early July. It still needs to be babied sometimes - he had to put it up and ice it this afternoon - but he's doing well. What's better, at least for him, is that last week the doc OKed him to start driving again. After 6 weeks of neither Mom nor Dad being able to drive, this is a huge freedom regained!

Mom's doing better than I'd expected, and apparently better than she was even a week or two ago. Her energy had been so low she couldn't walk from the kitchen to the living room unaided, and from what my sister had told me about how little she was eating, I'd braced myself to find Mom looking rather gaunt. She's lost weight since I saw her last, but her appetite's better now, so she's regained much of what she lost and her energy is better.

Her attitude is certainly good: Saturday morning I was sitting on their bed while she brushed her hair. She started laughing, as her hair was coming out in small clumps as she brushed. She just kept on, brushing and laughing, and showed me her brush and her other hand when she finished - both were fairly full of hair. She already has her "cranial prosthesis" and at this rate, she won't be the least surprised if she needs to start wearing it by this weekend.

Today was the 1st day of her 2nd round of chemo. This was the long day - Dad & I left her at the cancer center at 10 and picked her up around 2. She'd eaten most of the lunch she packed and finished the rest of it in the car on the way home. Once we got back, she had some fruit with her tea, and ate most of her dinner. She's not sure how much she'll feel like eating over the next few days, once the chemo starts kicking in. Last time she felt a bit nauseated the day after the 2nd chemo day, but the doc told her today how to adjust her anti-nausea med to prepare for that. She also said that she felt much less tired and had a better appetite today than she did after Day 1 of her first chemo round. We're hoping that's a good sign.

The doc also said that, while she's in stage 3, that's because there's "involvement" both above & below her diaphragm. However, because the tumor is localized, he seemed optimistic about Mom's prognosis. I like this doctor!

Tomorrow I take Mom back for Day 2, which is much shorter; only 2 hours last time.

I'm glad I came out - it's very reassuring to see how well Dad is doing, and it's been good for my peace of mind to be able to do things for Mom, to see how she's eating, and so on. I think it helps my siblings to know that I'm here too, to keep an eye on things, try to keep either Mom or Dad from doing too much (we're such worrywarts), run errands, and just keep them company.

In other news: my youngest sister is scheduled for a C-section on the 18th, our dad's birthday. (He likes to tease her, asking how "my birthday present" is doing.) However, she was having some contractions today while she was in the grocery store. This little one might not wait for Dad's birthday; Baby might come on my birthday on the 14th, or perhaps earlier. And if Little Bit should decide to arrive before I leave town Friday morning, well, I wouldn't mind in the least if I were "forced" to meet my new nephew or niece in the neonate unit. ;)

Friday, October 06, 2006

Does this mean I'm officially old?

Or at least middle-aged, I guess. Went to the doctor the other day because I'd been having repeated stabbing pains in my knee throughout the day on Tuesday. The NP felt all around the joint, made me move it this way & that, even sent me to x-ray to have pictures taken. Turns out I've got a coupla teeny bone spurs on the bones - arthritis! So now I'm on a 10-day course of mega-Motrin (Rx strength), with knee exercises to do and an ace wrap for the bad days.

I guess I'd suspected arthritis, and I suppose it's good to have an official diagnosis so I know what the problem is, but did I really want to know I've got arthritis? Hmm; maybe not. Denial was a lot easier before the diagnosis. ;)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Gotta think healthy thoughts

... because I have to stay healthy to go visit my folks. After all, with Mom on chemo, I can not go out there if I have so much as a sniffle! Not that I anticipate getting sick, but last week's fever (I never get fevers!), combined w/ allergies that are acting up, has made me a bit nervous. I really want to go out and see my folks, if only for my own peace of mind, and I can only do that if I'm healthy.

When I talked to Mom after her appointment w/ the radiology oncologist, she gave me her new schedule - she finishes chemo the last week of this month, gets November "off", then goes for daily (M-F) radiation the first 3 weeks of December. Then they reassess how the cancer's doing and decide what else they need to do, if anything.

Our next door neighbor just got home the other day after her own cancer surgery. They found cancer in one breast but, because breast cancer killed her mother, our neighbor decided to go for the double mastectomy rather than worry about when she was gonna find cancer in the other breast. Only in her mid-40s, too, poor thing. TW hasn't been over yet, and I only stopped by to take over a florist delivery and make sure she and the friend staying with her have our phone numbers and e-mail addresses in case they need anything. Tomorrow or Wednesday I'll pick up a few things at the grocery store and make some things they can keep in the freezer.

When I was a kid, I never understood why, when there was a death or serious illness in a family, people would always take food. Now I understand, and am only too happy to do it for others, knowing full well that my turn will come around again.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


TW called me at work today to let me know he's coming home tonight instead of tomorrow night - yippee! However. Wouldn't ya know it, the weather is all stormy - thunderstorm watch for the entire area until 10 p.m., which is just about guaranteed to screw up his arrival time. But hey, as long as he makes it in, that's OK. :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Who are all these people? I've only heard of three of 'em, including the dead guy. Looking at the celebs this software picked, I'm thinking it must be picking up on the chin (and, in Ms. Moore's case, the freckles).

Tickets are booked

... and I'm heading out to take care of Mom through her next round of chemo. I feel better already, knowing I'll be seeing her in just a week or two, and can check up on both her & Dad. And I think all my siblings will sleep better knowing there's someone else in the apartment overnight when Mom's just had her chemo and might have a reaction to it.

The only down side is that TW can't come with me; can't get the time off. I don't relish the thought of haring off and leaving him for a week, especially because he's gone all this week, but I really need to check up on my folks, if only for my own peace of mind. Now to start deciding what books to take for Mom & me to read while she's getting her drips (the first day is 6 hours!)...

What is it with these deer?

Like most urban areas, I suppose, we have so many deer that they've become garden pests and traffic hazards. They're also attractive beasties, very picturesque as they take a roadside repast on a lightly-forested median or graze in a neighborhood park. But can anyone explain why it is that, nearly every time I've seen them grazing, they all seem to have their tails toward me? Are they being rude, or do they just think that's their best side? :)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Very cool home video

Found this link on Dubheach's blog:

You can quibble with the more theatrical aspects of the fight choreography (they'd never win a bar fight), and you can see the influences, but the choreography itself is very well done and the storyline and the few special effects are remarkably good for an amateur video.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Any day that starts w/ a migraine just has to get better

Made it to church barely 10 minutes before Mass (instead of 45 mins early to help set up and go over the music) because I was waiting for the Imitrex to kick in. (Waking up after too little sleep is bad enough; waking up with a migraine is adding insult to injury!) Then as we were in the middle of the Communion song, one of the phrases just hit me and I had to go to the back and start crying. A friend came looking for me and let me soak her shoulder for a bit. "Is it your mom?" Oh yeah, and Dad, and work, and TW being gone this week and preparing to be gone for 6 months, and I hadn't gotten anything like enough sleep all week, and... So my friend invited me to their house for dinner tonight, since they'd have plenty.

I still felt rocky when I left for rehearsal this afternoon (my eyes still hurt, for some reason), but it was nice to be able to forget everything for a few hours and immerse myself in G&S silliness. We also acquired 3 more men for the chorus, which made it much easier to run those parts of the Act I finale which included them. Even though setting blocking is my least favorite part of the rehearsal process because it involves so much waiting around while the director tells everyone else what they're doing, that meant the ladies got a chance to chat a little while the men got their blocking, and this really does seem to be a congenial bunch. (And some of my fellow cast members have quite a wicked sense of humor!)

Dinner w/ my friends was nice and low-key. Her dad was there too, for his birthday, but he's so VERY low-key that you would never have known this was for his b-day. It was nice to sit around the table with them all, talk about inconsequential things like the 8-yr-old's cub scout pack providing a color guard for a recent baseball game, and generally relax in good company.

I may yet end up going to visit my folks over Columbus Day weekend and staying for Mom's chemo, if her sked doesn't change. I'll have to call the airline and see whether I'd be able to change my return flight if Mom's chemo schedule changes after I've already bought the tickets.

I think we'll be doing this again...

Last night the company with which I started my G&S "career" had its first-ever gala fundraiser - silent auction, donated G&S-themed baskets for raffling, live auction, and of course, MUSIC! All of this at the theater where the company performs, which has a nice-looking lobby and recently rehabbed theater seating.

We started with an hour of G&S selections, chosen by audience members who returned polls included in the programs of the last show or two the company did. That music was fairly informal - soloists and ensemble members standing near the piano, sometimes with a score, singing selections grouped by opera (a "Princess Ida" set, a "Mikado" set, and so on). This while the patrons came in and collected their packets (program for the evening, items for the live auction, auction number), examined the gift baskets and silent auction items, and enjoyed the hors d'oeuvres and beverages.

After an hour or so, things moved into the theater for more G&S selections - the audience's top 12 or 15 choices. These were semi-staged, with either orchestra or piano, and performed with the singers in evening wear and the occasional prop (character hats, the occasional "weapon", etc.). As the announcer commented after When a Felon's Not Engaged in His Employment, "I like the idea of a police force in tuxes!"

People then returned to the lobby to collect their silent auction items (I was lucky enough to be the only bidder on a lovely dichroic-glass hair barrette - bright & sparkly, just my kinda thing!), witness the drawing for the various baskets, and attend the live auction. I didn't stay for the latter, but it seemed to be going well.

The event drew what seemed to be a good crowd, though it was hard to tell, given that it's a relatively small lobby, the tables for the auction & raffle items took up a fair bit of space, and there were a LOT of performers in the lobby along w/ the patrons. However, I heard the company sold at least 70 or 80 tickets (we needed to sell at least 60 or 65 to cover expenses) and of course everything raffled or auctioned was donated. I think even some of the food and drinks were donations. I'm expecting that means the company did well enough to put us comfortably in the black, instead of hovering on the verge of operating in the red. I fully expect this will become an annual event and now that we've done one, the next one will be a little easier.

I chatted briefly with one patron who, with his wife, had attended every performance since learning about the company from a friend 3 years ago. He told me they had enjoyed everything they'd seen and were looking forward to the next season.

Dress code for those of us working or performing was tuxes for the men and cocktail dresses for the ladies. I have a gorgeous beaded dress that might have worked, but I've, um, "outgrown" it, so I had to go shopping. Precious few cocktail dresses out there - mostly I found ballgowns, prom dresses and "mother of the bride" dresses, and lots and lots of black! I wanted non-black - after all, I wasn't going to a funeral, and pace the "basic black" dictum - but about the only other alternative was dark brown, which makes me look like death wouldn't have me. I ended up with a pair of plain black trousers in a sparkly knit (no pockets and much too long, but very comfortable) and a tank top w/ matching jacket, both of which had an all-over pattern in silver glitter. I dug out lots of big, flashy rhinestone jewelry to wear with them, including a funny headpiece of loops of rhinestones which I pinned on top of a bun. I even painted my toenails silver w/glitter to go w/ the silver sandals I wore. If I couldn't have color, I was gonna have LOTS of sparkle! :D

Several of my friends in the company teased me about all the flash or commented on the jewelry. I even had a couple of patrons come up to me and comment on the end result. The lady and I had a brief but pleasant chat about "basic black" versus color, but the funniest was the older gentleman who came up to me and said "You look tremendous!", then turned and walked away again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Me, distracted and preoccupied?!?

Whew, survived that! I've been trying to get certified to teach a coupla technical writing courses at work. I was scheduled to "team teach" one of them starting Tuesday this week, the last or next-to-last thing I needed for certification. However. I realized last Friday that I didn't know a) what I needed to do to prepare, b) how to get a copy of the instructor's manual, or even c) who was teaching the course! I finally got that last bit of info late Monday, but because the instructor was out of the office all day, I couldn't reach him (although he did see my e-mail Tuesday morning).

And why did I wait so long to realize I needed all this info? Hmm, let's see - Aug. 24th, Dad goes into hospital for knee replacement. Aug. 28th, Mom goes for doctor's appointment, is whisked off to the hospital (not the same one Dad's in), which I don't learn until the 29th. On the 29th, as I'm preparing for an audition, I first get a phone call telling me Mom was in the hospital and then, 45 minutes later, my sister calls back to tell me they'd just learned Mom's got cancer. Aug 30th was Mom's biopsy, with no results at all for nearly a week! Then Mom goes home that Saturday, Dad pushes himself (and we worry that he might push too hard) in his PT and gets "sprung" the following Saturday.

Oh, and my immediate supervisor left mid-day on the 29th for a 4-month assignment elsewhere, and guess who's acting in his stead until his return? I've mostly managed to avoid jobs with a heavy supervisory role, but looks like the odds have finally caught up with me. Almost immediately, I had to deal with little things like attending meetings (no big deal, but it means I have to schedule around them), prioritizing the work and picking up customer requests, but I've also started seeing the sausage being made, most notably in the form of a sticky personnel problem that has refused to respond to the usual treatments and required more drastic measures.

Maybe that's why the 9/11 anniversary didn't phase me this year. I was too preoccupied with other things to think much about that day or the days thereafter, when I was working in the Pentagon.

So yeah, I'm just glad I got thru this class intact. I think I'd better do one more round of team-teaching, though, and this time I'll make sure I've got a copy of the course materials ahead of time, touch base w/ the primary instructor to see if he or she will let me do most of the instruction (I only did about half of the 2nd day; the primary did all of Day 1 and the review before the test), and actually be prepared to teach.

Round One

Mom had her first round of chemo this week - 6 hours of Rytuxan (sp?) on Tuesday and 2 hours of assorted other meds on Wednesday. She told us last night that, aside from the expected fatigue, and a split second of nausea yesterday, she's had essentially no side effects! This is good news indeed! Next round is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 10-11, but she meets w/ the radiology oncologist tomorrow and what she learns then may change the chemo schedule.

The insurance company will reimburse for a wig once Mom's hair starts falling out, but only with a doctor's chit, which apparently (I'm getting this information 3rd hand) must be written for a "cranial prosthesis"! And you thought the government was bad about coming up with unnecessarily long, elaborate terms!

Back in the saddle again

... theatrically speaking. Yes, I was called back for a lead but no, I didn't get it because the other 3 candidates sang rings around me. But I don't mind; it's good for my ego to know that I was considered good enough to stand up there and sing along with them. (Though I'm very glad I sang first - I'd've hated to have to sing after any of them!) This will be fun - singing choruses in public, playing dress-up (complete w/ fancy hair & make-up), and all that. It's a pity, though, that this company's shows only run a single weekend - I know I'll be going thru withdrawal after strike! But TW will probably be glad that I'll only be living at the theater that one week (Tech Week into the lone weekend of the run) and gets me back after that.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Good news & bad news

Good news is, TW managed to get the new modem to work. Which means we're finally back ON LINE! A wonderful thing, now that my siblings are e-mailing updates on Mom's chemo & Dad's PT, my latest show is e-mailing important info to cast members, and another theater company I've worked with is having their fundraiser this Saturday and likewise is sending important info to those of us working it.

Bad news is, TW had to spend a good 2+ hours on the phone w/ tech support (both Verizon & Dell) and Dell had to wipe everything off the computer! Pictures from my camera (good thing I hadn't deleted anything from the memory card yet!), old tax returns, old e-mails I'd saved off to files, Christmas card lists (sure hope TW didn't pitch last year's hardcopy!), all our bookmarks - gone! Looks like our next tech purchase is gonna be some sorta mechanism for backing up the hard drive.

Computers make bad paperweights

... because they take up so very much room on the desk. Ours has been a paperweight since the modem died nearly two weeks ago. (I'm writing this from someone else's computer, so I have to keep it short lest I overstay my welcome.) I spent over 5 hours on the phone with various tech support types, getting passed back and forth between Verizon and Dell in numerous vain attempts to diagnose the problem(s) - so long that I completely ran down the battery in the cordless phone's handset and had the wretched thing die on me in the middle of my 3rd conversation w/ a Dell techie. So we're going modem shopping today and, insha'allah, will be back on line tonight or tomorrow.

In other news, my callback went well, but all 3 of the other Jane candidates had bigger voices than I do, so I'm in the chorus. I'm OK with that; I was delighted to be considered for a lead when I'd only requested chorus - wonderful for my ego! Getting cast means the Chief is back to being a Theater Widower; hope the transition isn't too hard for him.

Last weekend my voice teacher & I went to NJ to spend that Saturday singing G&S with 70 or 80 like-minded individuals. What a wonderful choral sound! I ended up singing all of Buttercup on no notice (I'd been told I only needed to prepare the Act II music), but in that environment I did OK.

Mom starts chemo on Tuesday and is itching to get started so she can finish. Dad went home from the rehab hospital last Saturday. Neither of them can drive yet, so my siblings (thank God for responsible, reliable family members!!!) are coordinating chauffeur service, meals, and the like. Don't know yet when I'll go out to take my turn, but I'm sure they'll let me know. ;)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Mom goes home tomorrow

Mom gets to go home tomorrow. I haven't heard yet whether she's going back to my parents' apartment or to J&S's house.

As of 5 pm CDT the biopsy results had not yet come back. We wonder if they'll process it over the weekend; would think so. In the meantime, they've had Mom on morphine since the biopsy; she says it feels as though they were doing major excavation in her back.

Seems Mom misunderstood, or maybe Dad did; no overnight passes for him. As my sister-in-law the nurse pointed out, if he's well enough to spend the night at home, he's well enough to stay there.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"And now for something completely different..."

... GOOD news! My voice teacher told me in my lesson today that they'll probably call me back for a LEAD and I hadn't even put down anything but chorus!!! {squealing} {jumping up and down} {delighted laughter}

This is extremely exciting, largely because this particular company actually pays its performers and therefore gets some pretty high-power talent at auditions. My audition obviously went better than I thought. :D Seems the MD asked my voice teacher at some point in the proceedings the other night, "That one with the hair (I auditioned w/ my hair loose, as a prop), what was her name? I think I want to call her back for Jane." {squealing} {jumping up and down} {delighted laughter}

This character has one solo and one duet and does the rest of her singing with the ladies of the chorus. The one challenge to the role, IF I get it, is that I'd need to learn to play (or at least pretend to play) the cello, when I've touched a stringed instrument exactly once in my life. And I'd have to manage that in less than 2 months, as the show runs the first weekend in November.

Callbacks are next Wednesday, which gives me almost a week to learn Jane's solo and look over her dialogue. That time's gonna fly!

Update on Mom & Dad

It's possible I may have only one parent in the hospital as early as tomorrow. My sister J writes that they may send Mom home tomorrow. The question for my siblings in town now becomes, "How do we make sure she doesn't wear herself out doing for others?" H and her family will be in town for the weekend and had already planned to pitch in (they generally avail themselves of Mom & Dad's den and spare bedroom), so at least this weekend will be covered. J has suggested Mom go into their guest room so she's less tempted to feed and entertain others, the house is all on one level (OK, the laundry room's in the basement, but that just means Mom wont' be doing laundry) and they have a big backyard and a basketball hoop in the driveway, so that means more room for the grandchildren to be around but not on top of each other. Sounds like my local sibs are going to talk to Mom & Dad and see what they think. I'm grateful all my siblings are so good at taking care of others; makes it less difficult to be half a continent away at a time like this.

Mom told me this evening Dad was able to get a couple of "overnight passes" from his hospital so that he can spend Saturday & Sunday nights at home, though still having to show up to his room for "torture" on a daily basis. Mom sounded pleased that they'll be able to have so much time together; after 50 years of marriage, they're still sweet on each other. :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Wait" is a 4-letter word!

Mom's needle biopsy was today. One of the docs thought lymphoma was more likely than sarcoma (God grant!), but it could be three days before they get the results back and we know for sure. ("Wait" is very definitely a 4-letter word in this kind of situation!) Fortunately, my sister-in-law is an oncology nurse and a nurse practitioner and another sister is an occupational therapist. SO nice to have someone in the family who speaks the language and can translate for the rest of us!

The rehab hospital wants to keep Dad until next Wednesday; Dad wants to ratchet up his PT to accelerate that. (He's so typeA!) As one sister put it, the local family members may have to have a conference to determine whether that's a good idea.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Two parents in the hospital!

Dad went into the hospital on Thursday and got a new knee (to go with the new shoulder he got in November, perhaps). The surgeon was delighted with how well the surgery went, Dad's pain is apparently no worse than is to be expected under the circumstances and he's already walking (assisted) up and down long hallways. Yesterday they transfered him to the same rehab hospital where he "did time" two years ago after two major back surgeries. He absolutely loved the staff there, so we know he'll be in good hands this time around.

I wish Mom were doing as well! She was treated for a kidney infection a couple of weeks ago but was having some pain. She went to the doctor last Monday and got a cortisone shot for bursitis in her hip. She was feeling better by the latter part of the week but still not great, so she went back yesterday. I learned from my sister earlier tonight that they sent Mom to the hospital from the doctor's office! Her potassium and sodium levels were both quite low, and they ran some other tests to see what's up. Well, turns out Mom has cancer, again! (She had breast cancer nearly 15 years ago.) It seems they found a "suspicious mass" near her kidney that turned out to be a retroperitoneal tumor. Worse, her lymph nodes are enlarged. They'll do a biopsy tomorrow to determine whether it's lymphoma or sarcoma. My sister told me that, if we have a say in the matter, we need to vote for lymphoma, which is apparently relatively easy to treat with chemo and perhaps radiation. Sarcoma, on the other hand, would mean surgery and the tumor is in such a tricky place that the doctor said he'd want to send Mom to the Anderson clinic in Houston or to the Mayo clinic to have it done!

Seems weird to be praying that the biopsy shows lymphoma, but that's the situation.

So here I am, with two parents in the hospital, in different states! (Their city straddles a state line; the two hospitals are only a few miles apart.)

A good audition

This audition went much better than the last one. Very simple - singing only. (I was hoping there'd be a dance piece to it, but oh well.) I sang a piece I've auditioned with before, most recently a year ago April, when I auditioned for Mikado. It's very comfortable vocally, lends itself to dramatics, and is one I don't have to think myself through ("now lift into this higher passage..."). Small audition panel - the stage director (my voice teacher), the music director, and another woman off to one side who might have been a board member; no telling. I also knew the accompanist, so all of that helped put me at ease. The auditions are being held in a church social hall like none I've ever seen - a room that didn't look like it'd been the victim of fellowship hours, scout meetings, youth group dances and the like, with a lovely hardwood floor and a sort of stage (up 3 steps), also hardwood, with nice lighting (not fluorescent).

So I got up there, we chatted a bit, then I began. I didn't worry about my technique at all, just let it happen, while I played with the dramatics of the piece. I must've done something right because both directors were laughing when I finished. My voice teacher has told me repeatedly that this is the reaction I want to go for, so I feel that went well. Because the cast will be relatively small, I asked whether there might be callbacks even for chorus. The answer was "we might", to check balance and blend.

Two more audition nights, then callbacks on the 6th. I've got a bit of waiting ahead of me...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Another audition

Yes, so the last one didn't go as well as I'd've liked. Time to try again. Tomorrow night I'm auditioning for a local G&S production. The audition info on the company's website says that folk dance experience would be an "advantage" - sounds like my kinda production! I did folk dancing thru most of college, continued it recreationally for a few years after that, spent 5 years with a Hungarian folk dance troupe. I've done some recreational ballroom dancing, and spent close to 20 years studying, performing and occasionally teaching Middle Eastern dance. Including the folk dances of the middle east. Yeah, I'd say I've got that part of the requirement nailed! Problem is, they're only taking 6 women in the chorus ("20 lovesick maidens" - HAH!), so I'd better nail my vocal technique this time. And my voice teacher will be the stage director and therefore will be one of the folks at the audition table; I'd really better show her that I still remember what we've been working on, even if I haven't had a lesson all month. ;)

Cabin update - coming into the home stretch at last!

Back to the cabin this past weekend. The molding is up around all the windows, most of the picture rail is up (I miscalculated and hafta order more; the contractor is waiting until it comes in to finish mounting the last piece of the first order), the back bathroom is fully functional... All this construction is almost finished!!! Still to be done: touching up the paint (dings and dirt), doing second coats in a few places, finishing molding near the new front door, installing the storm doors in the foyer and screens in the windows in the addition (we'll have lovely cross-ventilation once that's all done!), and mounting the gutters. Then one last electrical inspection, the overall county inspection, and we can officially start "moving in"! We'll want to do some heavy-duty cleaning first, of course - the dust is thick and ubiquitous - but depending on the inspectors' schedules, we could have the construction finished in another coupla weeks. It'll be SO nice to get rid of the debris, clear out the dust, start thinking about plants to put in over the septic tank (they ripped up a few hundred square yards to do all the work!) and to camouflage the foundation, and generally start making the addition look less naked and more like it belongs there.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Dinner w/ friends

A friend and I, after what seems like months of canceled lunches, finally decided to get together for dinner instead. Nothing like having a "date" with a friend of long standing when you've seen each other through some pretty awful times (deaths, divorce, family stuff, poisonous jobs...). Lovely dinner, bouncing ideas off each other, voicing concerns or complaints you can't tell anyone else, enjoying each other's successes - what a gift!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Evening of One-Acts

Saturday night I went to see the first of 3 weekends of a local company's annual One-Act Festival. I went because 2 of the 5 pieces on the program involved friends of mine whose work I've enjoyed before.

The first piece was OK, the 2nd was painful (performers were wooden & seemed under-rehearsed, timing was poor, and I didn't think much of the material), and the 3rd was a damp squib (didn't so much end as fade out). Fortunately, the two pieces my friends were involved with were quite a bit better. The piece I'd gone to see a friend in, Chekhov's "The Brute", was good material, well directed and brilliantly performed. The director decided on a light southern accent for the woman and sorta cowboy-ish accents for the two men. Because all three handled them with a light touch, I thought it worked quite well. (And the director's decision to use the Gone With the Wind theme for the after music was inspired!) I. has a gift for physical comedy and, as the old family retainer, adopted a funny walk that reminded another fan of his of Walter Brennan. At one point, he entered pumping his hands as if using a walker; very effective and quite funny. The costumer in me wanted to shorten the woman's white pettis so there wasn't such a blizzard showing under her mourning dress when she was seated, and her bustle dress needed a bustle, but those minor things were my only quibbles. All 3 performers can be proud of their work last night.

The other piece, directed by L, my "theater mentor", was based on the premise that lunching w/ an ex-spouse has become an Olympic medal event. Funny concept, and the material lived up to it. D did a lovely job - just the right amount of angst over remembered better days, and just exactly the right note of triumph in the last line as his character knows he's won the gold. Kudos to L&D for one of the two consistently strong one-acts of the evening.

This was the first time I'd ever attended one of these. I found myself wondering how the directors find the pieces they submit for inclusion, and why so many of the 5 presented last night were so dreary. I'm also curious about how they put these things together. I'm told that when auditioning for a 1-act festival, you're going into a pool from which the various directors draw; you don't audition for a particular role or show or director. I'll have to ask what you audition with - prepared monologue, cold reading, or whatever. Not that I'm planning to audition for a one-act festival in the foreseeable future; I'm just curious about the process.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Let's see if anyone reads this...

From a friend's blog (slightly edited to accommodate my own prejudices):

1. Name: Maureen
2. Living in the US?: yes
3. Single or Taken: very much taken! :)
4. Pet Peeves: sloppy language, selfish/oblivious drivers
5. Favorite Song or type of music to listen to: (that'd take up too much space)
6. Favorite Song or type of music to sing: anything I can harmonize to
7. Favorite Book: at the moment, Pride & Prejudice
8. Current hobbies and other pastimes: singing, theater
9. Hobbies & other pastimes you would like to take up or get back to: dancing, playing an instrument
10. Favorite movie star you wish you could meet: I'd love to dance w/ Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, sing w/ Howard Keel
11. Do we know each other outside of the blogisphere?: I've known me since we were babies
12. Would you sing with me?: yes
13. Tell me one odd/interesting fact about you: I'm doing this and expecting someone to respond
14. If you could change anything about your current life, would you?: nothing major
15. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you?: just did
16. Post a picture of you: done

Monday, August 14, 2006

Better luck next time

While I haven't gotten the word officially, I know I wasn't cast. They told us they'd probably be holding callbacks for all parts and I wasn't called back. Which I expected, based on how I did at auditions.

I think I held my own with the dance combination, and I read reasonably well (the laughter and applause when I finished seemed at least a little more than merely polite), but when it came to singing, I fell flat. The accompanist launched into my piece as soon as I finished introducing myself to the audition panel, and the piece only has about 2 very quick bars of intro, so not only was I not ready, but I didn't get into the piece's "character" until about halfway through, and I could feel myself shifting all over the place vocally. I think the bad habits I've worked so hard to unlearn were trying to reassert themselves. Sigh. It's very discouraging to think I was finally "getting it" technically, only to have that technique fail me utterly when I needed it. :(

It was the kind of audition that makes we wonder why I bother, that I should just take my place in the chorus (in those shows that have a chorus; this one won't) and be done with it. But then I remember getting to do a lead last summer, and how much fun it was, and start thinking I just need to stop whining and get back to work.

More preparation is part of it; I shoulda been ready for just such an eventuality. I've dealt w/ accompanists who played at a tempo that was too fast or too slow, who couldn't handle the piece; starting before I was ready is now one more thing to add to the list of possible audition accompanist surprises. That, and maybe picking a piece w/ a longer intro!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hunt it down and kill it!

There is some gottverdammt electronic something somewhere in the house that has woken me up at 2:30 in the blasted morning two nights in a row with its wretched electronic singing. Not particularly loud, just loud enough to wake me up. Both times it's shut up before I could find it. Haven't a clue what it could be! Neither of our cellphones has the alarm function set, ditto my iPod, the Chief's beeper doesn't play "tunes", and we haven't introduced any other new electronics into the house since buying the cellphones several months ago.

We generally sleep w/ the bedroom door open, but tonight I think I'm gonna close the door so I don't hear that miserable little electronic gremlin chirping sadistically away at 2:30 a.m.!

Wish me luck!

Tomorrow I have my first audition since a year ago April! I think I've made some strides vocally, and when I had my last lesson before my voice teacher went on vacation 2 weeks ago, she declared my current audition piece "ready to go".

Tomorrow it's all about the details - being careful about what I eat (some things give me indigestion or crud up my lungs); eating dinner early enough for the digestive juices to finish before the audition starts; getting and keeping my voice warm; finding an audition outfit that's comfortable, flattering and dance-able; and remembering the finer technical points of my audition piece.

I'm looking forward to it - it's like a tiny performance, and I've made enough vocal progress to give me the self-confidence to enjoy strutting my stuff. The audition includes learning a dance combination, which I always enjoy, so that'll be fun. I may run into folks I know (at least one friend is auditioning, though I don't know which night), but even if I don't, I don't expect to get too nervous. There is that one role I'd love to get, but I'm going in not expecting anything, realizing I might not even be offered chorus. My voice is big enough that I like to think I'd be offered at least chorus, but that's the thing about auditions - until you get in there and hear the others, and unless you go to all the audition sessions to hear everyone, you don't know what the competition is.

The last time I auditioned for this company, they were doing Cabaret and I was hoping for Frau Schmidt. (I had thought about asking to be one of the Kit Kat Klub dancers until I saw the audition combination - my knees wouldn't have liked it one bit!) I thought I sang pretty well, but the woman who followed me not only filled the cavernous room with her voice but "sold" the song beautifully, too. She got the role. I don't mind at all when that happens; I walk out of the audition already knowing they'll cast someone perfectly suited for the role, so there's no anguished waiting to hear.

Last year's audition for Mikado involved no anguished waiting, either, but for a different reason. I left knowing already that I was gonna get a lead - it was simply a matter of whether I'd be offered Pitti-Sing or Katisha. And even when the director called me and initially offered me Katisha, she let me persuade her to give me Pitti-Sing instead! How often do we get to choose which role the director gives us?! Probably only once, so I guess I've made my quota. ;)

So if you read this before 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 10th, send some good vibes my way.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Good news about the septic system!

Chief just talked to Gary, the contractor. The septic guy started working on our system yesterday, so unless we hear otherwise, we can plan to go out to the cabin this weekend. The weather forecast sounds perfect - sunny, temps only in the 80s and low humidity. Cabin, here we come!

Better make this quick

Eesh, what a day. The problems started, oh, late last night - I didn't manage to fall asleep until midnight or so, then was awake again at 2:30, 4, 4:30 when the Chief's alarm went off, 5, and then my alarm went off at 5:30.

Schlepped an extra 10 miles to a class, only to find that it had been cancelled due to insufficient enrollment. I didn't get a cancellation e-mail because I wasn't officially enrolled, just observing (I'm trying to get certified to teach it), and wouldn't have seen it anyway, as I was home sick yesterday. So I wasted an hour and most of a gallon of gas on a pointless trip.

Tried 2 or 3 ATMs, all of which refused my card, claiming they couldn't read the mag strip. A colleague suggested moistening the offending mag strip, which worked.

When I got to the office around 7:45 a.m., Outlook wouldn't load. When I called the help desk, I got a recording telling me the server was having problems. Estimated time of restoral - 9:30, nearly two hours later! Fortunately, rebooting eventually took care of things, but it certainly did nothing for my already-stressed-out mood!

Comfort food and a glass of wine for dinner helped some, as did the Chief's pre-dinner call to his mom. She sounded less tired than usual, and we found a new topic to discuss, which is always nice.

Early to bed tonight - I need to sleep for more than 2 hours straight!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Reasons to love The Muppet Show

Omigosh, I'd forgotten how funny they could be! I'm still working my way thru Season 1 on DVD. They hadn't hit their stride yet, and some of the material was just plain weird, but you can see where the greatness came from, all right.

Here are a few clips from later seasons:

Muppet Human Sacrifice:

Love Story (how Andy Williams kept a straight face for most of this, I'll never know!):

Kermit finally loses it w/ Miss Piggy:

Looking forward to Thursday

Thursday's the big day - my first audition in over a year! I've already got a "clean" copy of my audition piece for the accompanist (my working copy is very heavily marked up) and just printed an updated theater resume, so all I need to do is woodshed a few technical things in my audition piece. I'm hoping my French class (2 nights a week thru the end of August) doesn't conflict with rehearsals, but if it does, well, it won't be the first time conflicts have knocked me out of the running for a show. I just hope I audition well enough that they'll remember me favorably the next time I audition for them. (And there will be a next time.)

If I don't get cast in this production, there are plenty of other shows to audition for. I've got my eye on something in at least one other show, which doesn't audition until October. Ah, audition season - all those tempting possibilities...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

"Getting to know you" and construction progress

The "block party" out at the cabin yesterday was fun. The hostesses did a wonderful job, the turn-out was pretty good, considering how many of the homeowners are weekenders, the weather was cooperative (not too hot, not too buggy) - everyone agreed it was a wonderful idea and we should do it again. I know I told at least a few people that the Chief & I hoped to have a party once the cabin addition is finished. With luck, that'll happen while it's still nice enough for the party to spill outside.

With the septic still out of order, we stopped at the cabin only long enough to pick up a couple of chairs for the party and check out the construction progress. The entire addition has been painted (except the picture railing, which isn't up yet), the new bathroom has linoleum, and they've started putting down the "hardwood" in the new bedroom. Narrower slats than we'd expected (the sample in the store misled us), but it sure looks pretty!

Saturday, August 05, 2006


I'm planning to audition for a community theater production of Urinetown this coming Thursday, so last night I went to see a production of it put on by a company of young performers (youngest were in grade school, oldest a rising college sophomore) to get an idea of what I was letting myself in for. I'm glad I went! Not only because I found that I liked the music and found the show funny, but also because the performance was quite strong, even for opening night. (First night w/ an audience tends to do funny things to one's timing.)

Most of the problems I had with the performance are really just minor quibbles. For example, the compressed age range of the performers made for some interesting casting; the villain looked more like the heroine's older brother than her father, for one thing. All the leads wore headset mikes, which was sometimes a problem. I've never worked with that kind of mike and know nothing about the technical aspects of it, but many of the leads had moments when the volume was just right but, when they were in the meat of their vocal range, they were blowing out the sound - too much volume, almost to the point of distortion. Which was a shame, because this cast had some wonderful voices in it.

I left wishing I were a guy so I could play the bad guy! He has what I thought last night was the funniest song in the show ("Don't be the bunny" - even the title is funny!) and the actor was a quintessential villain. Other roles I'd love but will never be cast in - Little Sally, which is a big part with some of the funniest lines in the show. I didn't much care for the heroine, but maybe that's just the way it was played. One role it's not unrealistic for me to hope for is Penelope Pennywise. She gets some great music (including the first solo of the show, "It's a privilege to pee") and is a meaty character role. Wonder how many fellow auditioners I'd have to arrange conflicts for in order to get the role? ;) But there are other roles that get good featured bits, and the music sounds like it would be so rewarding to sing that I'd even take chorus.

Checking a list of roles culled from the site for this week's auditions, I see that last night's company gave several "baritone/tenor" roles to women. Not surprising; I noticed last night that the females on stage outnumbered the males. Wonder why guys aren't into theater? Given the current demographics, you could sell it as a great way to meet girls.

Something else I noticed last night was the make-up of the audience. Probably because last night's company was one targeting young people, probably 2/3 of the audience looked to be in the same age range (high school/college), with the remainder being parents and other supportive middle-aged and older types. Definitely a partisan crowd, as witnessed by the many audience members carrying bouquets and the vocal reactions at the curtain call.

This theater was in a high school, but not like any high school I ever saw! The kids who perform in it will be spoiled for community theater - this place was huge! I'm guessing it seats upwards of 500 people, and the stage was perhaps twice as large as that used by any community theater production I've ever attended or been in. Heck, it looked bigger than at least one of the local professional theaters! I would've loved to get a tour of the backstage area to see what kind of wings, flyspace, dressing rooms and tech areas they've got.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Are we there yet?

We knew when we started this whole addition/rehab project that, like every construction project, it would take a lot more time and more money than original estimates. Sigh. But we had a foundation over 2 months ago and yet there's no flooring in the addition yet. Apparently the painting is finished, but the contractor called yesterday to tell us there was some problem w/ the engineered flooring (pseudo-hardwood) we'd chosen for the new bedroom and we'd have to pick something else. Didn't we do that a few weeks ago w/ the linoleum? And the septic guy can't even come look at our system until next week at the earliest, so we don't have a single functioning bathroom, and there are fixture boxes all over the kitchen table, and there's a thick layer of construction everywhere, and the living room furniture is shoved over to one side in an only marginally comfortable arrangement... We'll be SO glad when the cabin is back to being a vacation place instead of a construction site!

Neighbors out there are having a block party this weekend. We were only going to go if we had a working septic system, but then decided we weren't gonna let a miserable plumbing problem spoil our fun. Seems a bit wasteful, gas prices being what they are, to drive 2 hours one way to go to a party, but we'll also stop by the cabin to check the progress, and maybe pick up some corn from a local produce market. (The corn we got last time was sweet as any candy; I love corn season!)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Too darn hot!!!

Ayiyi! With highs near the 100-degree mark for the 4th or 5th day running, heat indexes predicted to be 110 or higher (!) today, and a Code Red ("air quality unhealthful") declared, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that I woke with a migraine today. Or rather, the migraine woke me and, to add insult to injury, woke me at 4 a.m.!

Several hours later, the Imitrex has worked its magic. I'm staying home today; not going in to work, not going to French class tonight, not going anywhere that doesn't have cooled, filtered air. I might do a little bit around the house, but we've raised the thermostat to conserve energy (as it is, I dread getting the next electric bill!) and I don't fancy incurring another heat-induced migraine! I think today's agenda is gonna be heavy on drinking of iced beverages and watching more Muppet Show episodes, with maybe some Rocky & Bullwinkle thrown in for variety. The living room is on the north side of the house, nice and shady, so it'll be the coolest room in the house.