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.