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.