Saturday, February 24, 2007


I had a headshot sitting scheduled for today, but after a long, tiring week and only 6 hours of sleep last night, decided I'd better reschedule. (I don't fancy distributing headshots that look like a portrait that should be up in my attic.) Then I checked my e-mail and learned that today's Birdie rehearsal was cancelled. This means I don't have to go anywhere until it's time to leave for the theater for my 6:30 call. Yee-ha! I'll have time for a NAP! I've already plowed thru my e-mail backlog, and look, I'm even updating this blog thingy.

In other news, we just got the Birdie rehearsal schedule for March. Looks like Saturdays & Sundays are reserved for choreography rehearsals. Since I'm not in any of the dance numbers, and we don't have any Friday rehearsals at all, I might be able to get out to the cabin again in a few weeks to see how much damage we had to the pipes. Depending on the weather, I may also look into getting a truckload of topsoil delivered and spread over the septic field. I ordered 50 vinca plants a month or so ago; once those come in, I'll plant 'em all over the place. That should help keep the dirt above the septic field from washing down the hill. Yes, the grass TW planted last fall already helps, but it's not as ornamental - no pretty purple flowers. I'm also thinking about planting lilies-of-the-valley, but I'm not buying a single pip until I can find someone or something to tell me how likely the deer are to eat them all up. I've thought about planting daffodils there, but of course I can't plant those until fall, which means I wouldn't see results until next spring.

Turns out dubheach will be in town for a sci-fi con the last weekend of March. It would be SO great if we can get together - we haven't laid eyes on each other in 6 years, when she was in town to see TW & me get married.

When TW called this morning, he told me he was able to get new glasses at the (American eyeglass franchise) at a local mall on the outskirts of Doha! Forget political hegemony; the US seems to be concentrating on commercial imperialism - fast food and chain restaurants everywhere, the top 2 colas duking it out for world domination, and even an eyeglass franchise trying to change the world's focus.

We've had a MOST welcome (at least to me) thaw the past few days, but of course we knew it wouldn't last. The weather forecast last night was threatening sleet or freezing rain starting sometime during the night tonight, to continue into tomorrow evening. This could very easily cancel our last Ruddigore performance tomorrow - horrors! I see the forecast has been updated since last night; now they're saying we'll get a "wintry mix" (i.e., think of every possible kind of frozen or freezing precipitation - that's what you'll get) that should change to rain by afternoon. However, even if things warm up enough that all we get is rain, that'll still cut into our attendance. People just don't like going out in the rain if they don't have to. However, if it's just rain, and it's warm enough that we don't have to worry about refreezing, at least the show can still go on, as can the post-strike cast party. And really, that's the most important thing, isn't it! ;)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ah, the joys of running water!

After spending too much time trying in vain to get the water flowing out at the cabin, it was SO nice to get home to running water. Being able to brush teeth & wash hands (and dishes) more easily is good, but best is being able to stand under a nice, hot shower and wash the hairspray out of my hair and a few knots out of my muscles. (Slinging sleet is hard work!) I'm achier today than yesterday from wielding that maul, moving piles of sleet, schlepping things down the driveway from the car to the cabin, etc. I was very careful about my body mechanics so I didn't injure anything; it's just all those muscles that aren't used to working that hard. Worst seems to be my hands - they're used to controlling lightweight things like writing utensils and book pages, not 50-pound mauls. So even though I indulged in a nice, long, hot shower this morning, I may take another before bed to ease the muscles a little more.

Monday, February 19, 2007

So much for that idea...

So much for my nice, relaxing trip to the cabin! Got out there around 8:30 last night to find the (very steep) driveway at least 6" deep in sleet, with perhaps half an inch of powder on top. No way I was driving down there, so I parked up on the street. Not only was the driveway impassable, but the cover to the little "well" housing the water shut-off was under at least a foot of drifted sleet! After spending about 15 minutes chipping away at it with the water key (the handle for turning the water on & off), I decided to wait until this morning, when I'd have daylight and less cold. I did get the place warmed up in fairly short order, but wished I could do better than bottled water for washing (after first Ruddigore, then the sleet chipping, a nice, hot shower would have been lovely!).

After breakfast, I first tried to go down to the "basement" under the addition to look for a shovel but never got there. I got about halfway down the slope; at the point where it gets steeper, my feet slid out from under me and rather than risk injury by trying to get the rest of the way down, I decided it would be the better part of valor simply to borrow a shovel from the next-door neighbors. Pity there was no one with a camera to capture my crawling back up the hill - might have made some decent money selling the video to America's Funniest or some such show.

The neighbors loaned me both a shovel and a maul. The latter was heavy and I took it mostly to be polite, but was soon happy to have it, as it was just the thing to break up the drifted sleet - a few good whacks and I'd separate another chunk from the mass keeping me from accessing the water shut-off. After close to an hour's work, I finally managed to get at the cover and turn the water on. Nothing. Not a hiss, not a fizz, not a gurgle. I went back inside and called the Homeowners' association folks, who had someone out to check the situation within no more than 15 minutes or so. After half an hour spent confirming that the water hadn't been shut off at the street and fiddling with the shut-off, Art determined that a pipe running from the shut-off into the house was probably frozen. He lent me a hair dryer, even positioned it for me and told me to return it later, but over half an hour of that yielded no results. Sigh.

So after taking care of some other things (like hauling blinds and curtain rods in from the car), I came back home, having installed not one blind or curtain rod, and resigned to the fact that there's no point in going back out there until things have thawed out. And when I do, I'm afraid I may have to spend a night in a hotel while I wait for a plumber to come out and fix whatever pipe(s) have frozen.

Ah, the "joys" of second-home-ownership.

Halfway there

That's one Ruddigore weekend down, one to go. Friday's house was quite small, but appreciative and surprisingly vocal for a Friday night crowd. (They tend to be quiet - probably tired at the end of the work week.) Saturday's crowd was nearly twice as large, and also vocal. Both nights the crowds didn't just chuckle, they laughed appreciatively at all the jokes; they're welcome to come back any time.

Sunday's audience was the largest because that was the "student outreach" matinee - a paying adult could bring one or two students for free and they got a backstage tour (first time I've had an "audience" in the dressing room!) and a post-show Q&A with the directors & principals. They were another vocally appreciative audience, and even applauded a couple of bits of business, not just the Act II dance number where we expected applause. The Q&A was rather sparsely attended, probably because by then it was snowing heavily, but I'm sure the die-hards who stayed felt they'd more than gotten their money's worth.

I'll have to get pics of my costume - it's one of the prettiest ones I've worn, and the costumer confided to me that it's one of her favorites of those on stage. A friend who came Saturday night also commented on my pretty dress and fetching hat. The "dress" is actually several pieces - blouse, skirt, overskirt & sash, worn over a bustle and petticoat. That's a lot of pieces to assemble, in addition to the usual drill w/ hair & make-up. Yesterday was the first time I was actually completely ready before the overture started - Thursday & Friday I had only done hair & make-up, no costume yet, when they called "places", and Saturday I had just begun to don my costume when "places" was called. I had been rolling my hair to give it some body before putting it up under the hat, but given how much assembly the costume requires, I may forget about the rollers.

This week I've been doing some of the "finishing" I always enjoy: made a reticule for Dame Hannah, cut down & hemmed the length of tartan Mad Margaret wears in her first scene, bought & attached trim to Rose's overskirt, trimmed countless stray threads from various people's costumes, hemmed my skirt and finished my sleeves w/ lace "harvested" from one of the men's shirts. (He didn't want lace on his sleeves, mine needed finishing, there was just enough lace - it was meant to be.) Oh, and the usual lending - a cameo and a dress liner to Dame Hannah, hatpins to 4 of the ladies, my curling irons for general use.

Given how I'm always doing this kind of tweaking, and how I enjoy getting a costume "look" just so, I suppose it was inevitable that I'd costume a show myself. Not completely by myself, because the director is herself an experienced costumer and has some pretty definite ideas of what she wants, and the producer is an experienced costumer and has offered her services if I get stuck. But still - it'll be my name on the program for costume design! Shouldn't hurt my resume any, especially if audience members actually notice the costumes in a good way.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"No lymphoma found"!!!

Mom just called with the synopsis of today's visit with the oncologist. She passed all her tests and the results boil down to three glorious words:
She has to go back for monthly portacath maintenance and for quarterly check-ups w/ the oncologist, but the important thing is that the prayers and the chemo WORKED!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oh, sleet!

Woke up at 5:30 this morning (when the alarm was set for 7) to learn the good news - no work today! Bad news - sleet! I could hear it patting against the windows and skylights at 5:30 and when I went out to shovel about 3 hours later, it made for some pretty tough going. That stuff is heavy! Not to mention hard to shovel; it clumps, you have to chip at it to get it to let go, it weighs a ton, and while it's melting at the moment, it's gonna refreeze later this evening. Send lots and lots of warm thoughts our way, please - we really can't afford to lose another night of rehearsal! If we lose tonight, that gives us only one night to get thru the entire show w/ orchestra, practice the evil/dead make-up for nearly half the cast, and get the blocking adjustments into our muscular memory. Not enough! Not that we'll be horrible if we don't get to rehearse tonight (we'll be well-rested, if nothing else), but losing two key rehearsals right before Opening Night is a Bad Thing!

You'd think I'd be well rested today, but you'd be wrong. Not only was I unable to get to sleep until after midnight last night (that late-afternoon migraine nap wreaked havoc w/ my sleep patterns), but after waking up early and going back to bed, I heard my cellphone beep just as I was getting back to sleep. Turned out somebody's boss was text-messaging them to come in late. I let "Mike" know he'd texted the wrong number, then went back to bed again. Ten minutes later, TW called. By the time we finished talking, I was wide awake, and headache-y, so I threw in the sleep towel, made some coffee (which took care of the headache, thank heaven), and wondered whether the carrier would be able to deliver the paper before noon.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cabin, here I come!

Ooh, ah, can't wait! I've actually managed to keep my calendar clear so that after this Sunday's matinee, I can head on out to the cabin! I'm taking Tuesday off so I can spend all day Monday out there, hanging "cellular shades" and curtain rods, checking on the state of the plumbing (it shouldn't have frozen, but I'll feel much better once I've checked), and treating myself to a massage. Should I have any free time, I'll spend it reading (my Birdie script will be among my reading materials), maybe watching a movie or two, and generally enjoying the peace and quiet.

I'll probably take TW's car to give it a good run, which means I'll need to get the wipers fixed (right now they scrape horribly!), then start loading it with all the things to go out there - curtain rods, blinds, the bathroom rugs TW & I bought right before he left, a few supplies & decorative items. Better not think about it or I'll get too antsy, though it's not too early to book my massage...

Night off during Tech Week!

Having a night off during Tech Week is a wonderful thing, but the reason we have tonight off isn't so nice. We're getting a storm that dropped an inch or two of snow before switching over to sleet, or freezing rain, or some other version of ice. Worse, the low pressure system that brought this "lovely" storm also sent me home from work early w/ a killer migraine. Not the worst I've had, not by a long shot, but bad enough that I took a 2nd imitrex when I got home and still had some lingering pain and nausea after a 3-hour nap.

Now that I'm feeling almost human, I plan to spend the next couple of hours hemming my costume skirt, going over my notes from the past 2 nights to remind myself of the blocking adjustments, do a "run sheet" (notes to self about cues, entrances, any tricky blocking, props I need to have, etc.), and relish the fact that it's within my power to be in bed w/ the lights out by 10 p.m. during Tech Week! This is particularly important because tomorrow's rehearsal will probably run even later than last night's (we ran until 11). We haven't had a run on the set yet, so I'm sure the director's a bit nervous about that; I certainly would be! However, we did have 2 very productive nights; got through all the 160-odd tech cues at last night's cue-to-cue and fixed nearly all the spacing issues.

It remains to be seen whether I'll have to go in to work tomorrow, but I still get to sleep in until 7. I had already planned to go in late and go to the theater from there. This is the first time in a few years that I've actually gone in to work during Tech Week instead of taking the whole week off. After not getting to bed until 1 this morning and then getting up at 7, I'm reminded why taking off during Tech Week is such a great idea, and not only because I have so much time to do costume repairs, run errands, and get my make-up kit in order! However, with another show running in May and perhaps a 3rd in June, on top of wanting to take 3 weeks off when TW gets back from deployment, I really do need to hoard my leave for the time being. Hence, I'm only taking off this Thursday & Friday, and next Tuesday so I can make a quick run out to the cabin to check on the place.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Barely time to catch my breath

Whew! Between Ruddigore & Birdie, I had 4 rehearsal nights last week. Saturday was the start of Tech Week for Ruddigore, and a very busy day indeed. Post office to mail another box to TW (socks, munchies, phone cards); then the fabric store for the makings of a burlap bag for Dame Hannah's kidnapping and a "hump" for Old Adam/Gideon Crawle; theater for the Sitzprobe (I took my sewing machine so I could work when I didn't have to sing); 1.25-hour drive to Birdie rehearsal; 5:30 Mass; quick jumbo slice of plain pizza before taking in Much Ado About Nothing. All-female cast, and most of them were very good. Interesting concept (the director apparently had so very many talented women audition that he decided to go w/ the all-female cast); the director set it during WWII and added a 4-piece combo to play for the feast, at which there was dancing, and inserted music elsewhere.

So now Ruddigore is in Tech. We got our first look at the set last night; only worked some Act I things, but the director seemed pretty happy w/ what we accomplished, and we were dismissed by 10:10 - early for Tech Week! Tonight is cue-to-cue; nobody's favorite, but a necessary evil. No telling whether we'll manage rehearsal tomorrow night; the weather reports have been full of a "winter storm watch" since Thursday and this morning they started talking about ice, sleet and freezing rain along w/ the snow. I don't mind snow, but that icy stuff is bad news! I'm sure our director is praying for snow only; so am I.

This is when the magic starts to happen for me: the set is coming together ("watch out for the paint on that flat!" "coming thru with the Genie!"), the costumes are being hemmed & fitted, the accessories decided on ("hmm, what should I do w/ my hair under this hat?"), prowling the set to see how the real thing is going to affect entrances, exits and placement. I just love it!

The pit piano we're using for rehearsal until Wednesday was hideously tinny and out of tune last night; I don't know how our accompanist stood it. Can't wait till we get to work with the orchestra; our accompanist is wonderful but that piano is an instrument of torture!

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I e-mailed the company doing Merry Widow to thank them for considering me but that I'd be unable to do the show after all. Sigh.

Also e-mailed the producer & director of the show I'll be costuming (am I crazy? if not, I think I soon will be!) about a costuming meeting so I can start thinking about what we'll need for that.

Finished a skirt for a fellow Ruddigore castmember. Our costumer had distributed a few "kits" at an earlier rehearsal. I finally got to mine this afternoon and knocked it out in only a coupla hours. Good thing I've gathered skirts onto waistbands before, though, as the directions left out a vital instruction - how to line up the waistband to the skirt base.

Went out this afternoon and bought a space heater for the kitchen so that I could stand to sew there. The back end of the kitchen is always cold in the winter because the seal on the french doors is no longer all that tight. With the arctic cold front we've been dealing with (today's high might have topped the freezing mark, but I'm not sure), the kitchen has been averaging around 60 degrees, and it's just too hard to sew when you're fingers are half numb. I also have all those curtains I want to sew for the cabin (2 foyer doors & sidelights, the bedroom door, and six bedroom windows) before TW gets home, so warm fingers are important! Bought the heater at one of those bedding/housewares chains and also bought the curtain rods and such while I was at it.

So now I'm ready - next time I go to the cabin, I have "cellular shades" and curtain rods to put up out there, and should have at least the sheers (foyer & bedroom doors) ready as well. With luck, I might even have a lined curtain or two finished by then, but I'm not holding my breath. After all, I've never done lined curtains before, so at least the first one or two will go particularly slowly while I figure out the measurements, layout and such.

Had a nice night at the theater last night - went to see a friend in "Anton in Show Business". Some heavy stuff, but mostly quite funny, and the 3 principal characters (of which my friend was one) worked so well together it would have been hard to single one out for special notice. This one was very much an ensemble show and, at least from my seat in the audience, the ensemble worked beautifully together. Bravi, tutti!

Mom had a bone marrow sample drawn last week, gets another CAT and PET scans this week, then goes to the oncologist for the results of everything on the 16th. Keep praying that the chemo did the trick!


After the euphoria of learning I'd been called back for Widow subsided, I realized I had a problem. Because Widow closes just 2 weeks before Birdie opens, I'd have great chunks of time when I'd be unavailable for Birdie rehearsals. Part of me wants to do everything - think kid in a candy store with a fatter-than-usual allowance. On the other hand, I can only imagine how frazzled I'd get if I'm in rehearsal for two shows at once, especially since I've agreed to design costumes for yet a third show. And as if that weren't enough, things at work are about to get busier, or so we're told, which could mean much longer days.

I e-mailed the Birdie director Friday night, offering him the chance to say that no, I can't have my cake and eat it too (i.e., do both Widow and Birdie) but haven't heard back from him yet. However, the more I think about it, the more I think that, in the interest of preserving what little sanity remains to me, I'd better tell the Widow company that, while I very much appreciate being called back and would dearly love to do the show with them, I'd better not. (That will certainly improve the odds for the other 4 women called back for the 3 "wife" roles; they should be happy with my decision.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Another callback!

Got home from work this afternoon to find a message on the machine telling me I'm called back for a role in The Merry Widow! Huzzah! They didn't say which role, but I'm guessing it's one of the Pontevedrian wives. Those are speaking roles; IIRC, all their singing is done in the full ensembles. Which is just fine; Lehar's choral writing is lush enough to keep me happy. And if they let me waltz, I'll be in heaven!

Another possibility is that they're considering me for one of the folk dancers. I doubt they'd want me for one of the can-can dancers unless they're desperate - I've never been able to do the splits or a cartwheel, although I can turn in place for at least 8 counts. That'd make a great visual - one brightly-garbed dancer turning and turning while others cartwheel past her.

I've already done the show once and got to dance 3 times; I was in the curtain-raiser at the top of the show, and was a folkdancer (type-casting!) and Jou-Jou, one of the can-can dancers. Heaviest rehearsal schedule I've ever had because of all the choreography rehearsal required - I was absolutely ate it up with a spoon and begged for more!

I hope to know more soon - the message promised they'd either e-mail me or call later tonight to tell me when to show up on Sunday.