Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What's that smell?

I walked in the door after work this afternoon and coulda sworn I smelled nail polish. Turns out I was right. The Chief was getting ready to go back to the set bay tonight and had just used a bottle of bright pink polish to mark all the tools he was taking. He told me he'd started w/ the "chrome copper" but it didn't show up well enough, so he tried the pink.

This is a weird experience, not seeing much of him in the run-up to Tech Week because both of us are busy with the show - him at the set bay, me at the rehearsal site. Once we load in this weekend, though, that'll change. We'll be in different parts of the theater, but at least we'll be in the same building.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Domestic god

No, not goddess. Tonight it was TW who was slaving away in the kitchen. Steak, homemade mashed potatoes & nuked veggies for dinner; homemade applesauce to use up the aging apples in the fridge; and spaghetti sauce! Not only does the kitchen smell fantastic, but we now have dinner and a nice, healthy nosh for the rest of the week. Good thing, since he'll be spending at least one night at the set bay and I'll have rehearsals every night from tomorrow until after the first weekend. (Wonder if this theater has a microwave backstage so we can nuke leftovers...?)

What a trouper

Mentioned to TW tonight that the Godspell director asked if he might be willing to help finish the set, or maybe learn to run the light board or follow spot. Having worked on sets before, TW agreed to help out one night this week. And once I explained about light boards and follow spots - as much as I can, given that I've never touched either one - he said sure, he'd be willing to learn how to do one or the other.

How adorable - "his 'n' hers techs". ;) This means he'll be at the back of the house while I'm backstage in the wings, but at least we'll be at the theater together.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Busy, busy, busy!

This is when it starts to get exciting. Godspell opens a week from Thursday. The cast members have all their important costume pieces already and all but one or two accessories. Nearly all the umpty-gazillion props are ready & waiting, the set is close to finished, we start hanging lights on Thursday, load-in is Saturday and our first tech rehearsal is a week from today. No rehearsal tomorrow, but that's the last night off until after the first weekend. Starting Tuesday, it's rehearsal every night, folding in more & more tech until after load-in. Once we put this baby on the set, that's when the magic really starts to happen. It's when you're out of the rehearsal space and finally in the theater, with seats that will shortly be filled (we hope!) with appreciative audience members, that you realize this isn't just something to fill your time. This is gonna be an actual, living, breathing show!

I think this is gonna be good. Godspell is very demanding, in that all 10 performers are on stage the entire time. Lots of music, nearly all of it choreographed (there are 1 or 2 numbers that are more blocked than choreographed), and the blocking is very physical - a lot of crawling, reaching, running, jumping... I've joked with several of the cast members that this is such a good workout, they won't need to hit a gym until after we close.

As assistant stage manager, I'll be in the wings, helping our propmistress ride herd on the plethora of props for this show. The cast members take care of many of their own, and many will be preset, but that still leaves a LOT of props to worry about.

As if that weren't enough, the theater adjudication year has begun (it's on a calendar year). TW and I saw an Albee play a couple of weeks ago that he didn't much care for (he's not into absurdism), and last night it was a comedy with rather a Twilight Zone twist. One of the further-from-us theater companies, but my online search turned up a nice little Persian restaurant nearby where we had a lovely dinner. They won me when they brought out mast o khiyar and bread with the menus. The baklava was pretty bad - mostly dried-out filo - but the entrees were good enough to keep us happy, and TW loved the tea (some Persian blend w/ a touch of cardamom). I've got 2 or 3 more shows to cram into my schedule between Pirates rehearsals, along with 1 or 2 shows friends are doing that I also want to see. It can be crazy-making, but in small doses it's a lot of fun. And this year I've got TW home, not overseas, so he can come with me and help me try the new restaurants, discuss the show, and so on.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Too soon to tell

... whether my mouth is fixed yet. I ended up getting 2 wisdom teeth extracted Friday. Ouch ouch ouch! The joint on the right side of my jaw is finally considering forgiving me, but the pain is still very much present. It's just a different one. I saw my own dentist this afternoon for a follow-up appointment and learned that I've developed dry socket (or "dry rot", as TW likes to laugh at me). My dentist gave me chapter & verse on what it is, what happens and all that, but for me there are 2 main problems: first & foremost, that it can add 2-3 weeks to the healing process (and in the meantime it hurts like blazes when the motrin is wearing off) and that the "baby it" restrictions include stretching the mouth as little as possible, which is gonna make singing a bit difficult.

On the plus side, though, Friday & Saturday it felt as though I had a filling on the healthy side that was starting to wiggle loose. My dentist checked out all my fillings on that side, just to be sure, and found no problems, chalking it up to "weirdness" resulting from the jaw trauma and change in my chewing motion.

Friday I couldn't help but remember all the people I knew in college who had their wisdom teeth out over spring break. Even then we thought they'd gotten a raw deal. Now, however, I have a new, much fuller appreciation for how very thoroughly their spring break was ruined!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Wait" is a 4-letter word

Especially when you're hurting. My dentist called late this morning to say he was cancelling his afternoon appointments and closing up shop for the day because of the weather (snowing like crazy, forecast predicting snow to be followed by sleet, ice or some other disastrous form of precipitation by mid-afternoon). I was welcome to leave a message with days & times I could reschedule for next week.

Um, sorry, can't wait that long. When I woke up this morning (after calling my office to say I wouldn't be in), it took the "mega-motrin" fully an hour to bring me back from the brink of the rocking-and-whimpering stage. No, waiting until next week is not an option here. So now I have an appointment for tomorrow morning (more waiting and trying not to whimper) with an associate of TW's dentist, who's about an hour and a half away from here. But close to the cabin, which is why TW goes to that guy (long, uninteresting story). I won't be seeing the dentist TW likes so much, and he doesn't take my dental coverage, but he can take me first thing in the morning. I don't have to hurt until sometime next week? For this I'm willing to pay!

We were planning to spend the weekend at the cabin anyway; now we're going out one night sooner, so we have a shorter trip to the dentist in the morning.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Looking forward to the dentist

This is the first time I've ever been eager to get to the dentist. I started having jaw pain Monday night - felt like bone pain, symmetrical across the upper jaw, and bad enough that I wasn't able to fall asleep until I got up and took something for it. Yesterday it came back sufficiently persistently that I ended up going to my HMO's after-hours care, so you know I was getting fed up. The physician's assistant was helpful, but the best advice he gave me was to call my dentist. Unfortunately, he didn't have anything available until tomorrow.

So now I'm sitting here w/ Rx-strength motrin in my system and pain that's decided to localize on one side of my jaw, counting the hours until I get to go to the dentist.

Success at last

I went into Sunday's audition for a production of Pirates of Penzance 0 for 3 but was optimistic when I found that I was the only woman auditioning who looked older than 20-something - no competition for the role of Ruth that night, at any rate. My song felt good, I thought I read well, so I went home thinking that even if I got the role by default, I'd still earned it.

This is very much a community theater company. They perform in a converted storefront in an old downtown. The place is small enough that it seats only 50, the stage is probably only 15 or 20 feet square and perhaps 6" off the floor. No orchestra pit and precious little backstage area. Which means we'll have an unusual intimacy w/ the audience and get great energy from them because even the back row will be so very close. This is gonna be fun!

Now if we can just find a Frederic and 3 more men for the chorus...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some corners should never be cut.

Made some pumpkin pies this weekend to use up the half-and-half I'd bought. I had one carton of fat-free and one of "real" half-and-half in hopes of producing a less-guilty pleasure. Big mistake! The fat-free stuff did nasty things to the texture of the pie in the cooking process: instead of the usual smooth custardy texture, it ended up kind of pebbly, and separated a lot more than usual, producing quite a lot of "water".

Sometimes you can make these calorie-shaving recipe changes without a qualm. But fat-free "half-and-half"? In your coffee, maybe, but definitely not in pumpkin pie or anything else custardy.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Experiences of an English soldier in WWI

Just learned of this blog from yesterday's paper. Apparently someone came across letters Pvt. Harry Lamin wrote to his family while he was serving in World War I and Harry's grandson is posting the letters on the 90th anniversary of each letter's writing. (For example, the letter Harry wrote on 3 Jan 1918 was posted to the blog on 3 Jan 2008.) I plan to go back to the beginning (about a year and a half ago) and start reading a few at a time until I get caught up. The grandson is dropping no hints about Pvt Lamin's fate, aside from referring readers to Lamin's Brigade's diary. Aside from a bit of commentary explaining references, and the addition of some family photos (Harry's grade school class picture is a study!), the letters have not been edited; the spellings & grammar are Harry's own. I'm looking forward to digging into it...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another Locks of Love donation

Because the furnace guy came early and therefore was gone by noon, I was able to fit in a haircut for another Locks of Love donation. Notice the before and after shots - hard to believe I only donated 12 inches.

Uh oh!

Words you never want to hear from the person about to fix your, well, anything: "This is gonna be hell!"

I stayed home today because we had someone coming to check a furnace leak (the Chief had noticed water around one of the seals the other day). Turned out he needed to replace a section of pipe in order to replace the seal and I think the comment referred to the anticipated trials & tribulations involved in cutting the PVC to fit. I never heard any uncouth language emanating from the basement, no explosions or anything like that, and so far the repair is holding, but he did have me worried for a bit there!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Bad news

Mom called last night to let us know that my sister just learned she's miscarried. After 2 pregnancies & 2 thriving babies, the possibility of miscarriage had probably receded. Now she and my brother-in-law have to deal with the loss of all their hopes and dreams for this little one. I know exactly how much that hurts, so I feel bad for them, poor things. And none of this "At least they have 2 healthy ones" stuff. While it might make their loss easier to bear, the fact remains that it is a loss.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Good news for Christmas

At Christmas dinner, my youngest sister & her husband announced that their 3rd baby would be arriving "probably sometime in August". Little Bit's 2 sisters are utterly adorable and, at 14 and 28 months, already very distinct personalities. (One's a performer, the other's an adventurer.) Can't wait to see how #3 turns out.

The next day, P got a long-awaited phone call offering him the job he'd interviewed for nearly a month ago. After getting laid off nearly 2 years ago, this was very good news indeed!

The Chief & I were very pleased to see how great both my parents looked. They've improved remarkably since they visited us in October. Mom has nearly all her strength back and Dad is actually, finally walking without a cane nearly all the time, for the first time in over 2 years. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I love this description of English!

Why did I never hear this before? James Nicoll has said of English that
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

The Flibbertigibbet recently saw this quote paraphrased on a T-shirt as
English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over and goes through their pockets for loose grammar.
Fits better on a T-shirt than the original, but dropping the cracks about the "purity" of English is a tragic loss.

Once more into the breach

Yesterday I agreed to be assistant stage manager (ASM hereafter) for a local production of Godspell with many of the same folks I did Birdie with - same director and stage manager, several of the same cast members, and one of the Birdie cast members is doing the costumes. I'm looking forward to working with them again, and to learning more backstage techie tricks. Among other things, I have to go to the lighting rehearsals; I've never done a lick of stage lighting so I'm hoping I'll learn a bit about hanging, aiming and designing stage lighting.

The Chief has offered to help with load-in and maybe with set building. He has no desire whatsoever to set foot on a stage in front of an audience, but working on sets is something we can do together. Maybe he'll even let me play with his power tools. Well, maybe the driver drill; I don't think he's ready to share the miter saw or table saw yet. :D

Quite the social butterflies, we are

It certainly is the party season! We had 4 parties in 3 days - one Sunday, 2 last night, and one today. Last night was kind of funny because the first party was fairly casual while the 2nd was black tie optional because the singers in the crowd like to wear their tuxes & recital wear for something other than "work". The Chief has a tux he had made by a local tailor on one of his deployments and I've got a ballgown he bought me a few years ago (Nordstrom's was having a post-holiday formalwear clearance) and gold jewelry bought on various trips to the Middle East. So the Chief donned his tux and I my ballgown & gold for both. We got lots of compliments at the first party, a few photos of us in our gladrags, and comments such as "you look like you're ready for a concert". If I'd thought of it, I'd've worn the dress without the matching jacket and instead worn my vintage opera gloves; the bangle bracelets would have shown up better without sleeves to obscure them. ;)

Poor Chief - 3 of these parties were given by people I've done shows with, so he knew few or no people at most of them. Today's was the best for him, though. The hosts have an older home they've slowly been starting to work on and we not only got to talk antiques and remodeling but learned of a local architectural salvage place. Now we're looking forward to swinging by there this weekend to browse their warehouse.

A choral glossary of music

From my e-mail (no lightbulb jokes, just daffynitions)

TONIC - a smooth liquid generally enjoyed over ice after a choir rehearsal.
DOMINANT - in a choral relationship, usually the soprano.
AUGMENTATION - delicate surgery for altos involving the implantation of "falsettos."
LEITMOTIF - like a regular motif, but less filling.
SCORE - Basses 8, Tenors 0
CONTRALTO - an alto who has been convicted of a felony.
POLYCHORAL MOTET - six parrots singing "Exultate Justi"
ALEATORIC MUSIC - music composed by the random selection of pitches and rhythms. Frequently found in the choir anthem.
BASSO CONTINUO - when the conductor can't get the fools to stop singing.
CASTRATO - the highest male voice (some alteration required).
ETUDE - what comes right before the Beatitudes.
GLISSANDO - what directly precedes the highest note of the soprano part.
THEME - we hate this anthem.
THEME AND VARIATIONS - we hate this anthem, the composer and all of his/her relatives.
SMORZANDO - the "all-you-can-eat" buffet at Luciano's.
GRAND PAUSE - when the conductor loses his or her place.
ANTIPHONAL - leaving your answering machine on all the time.