Saturday, November 28, 2009

Goin' decaf

I've now been caffeine-free since Tuesday. After being awakened around 4 a.m. 5 days running with nasty headaches, my doc referred me to a neurologist, who told me that pattern was classic for "rebound headaches", when the body finishes metabolizing caffeine. Four in the morning?!? When I hadn't had much caffeine, and none of it after 10 am? Apparently so. This is particularly weird because mine isn't a big caffeine habit - I fill the cup halfway with milk, then top up w/ coffee, so I'm getting no more than the equivalent 12 oz. a day of straight coffee; less caffeine than in a 12-oz can of Mountain Dew.

Since Tuesday morning I've had no caffeine that I know of - only herb teas or decaf coffee, haven't had any chocolate. The "withdrawal" headaches have only been an occasional nuisance, not the constant I'd feared from seeing others go cold turkey from caffeine, though yesterday's did segue into a migraine.

The doc recommended a couple of books, one of which outlines a "migraine diet", which I'll definitely try. He also said yoga has been shown to help, and there's a yoga studio near our house; guess I'll check out their class schedule. It's much too soon to tell how all this will affect my migraines, but I've got my fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why is this so complicated?

I've wasted a bit of time this weekend trying to find someone who'll cut my hair for my Locks of Love donation. The first two times I donated, I just went in, got my hair cut, and done. This time? Not so easy, for some unknown reason or reasons.

Attempt #1: Called the salon around the corner, which I haven't patronized in lots & lots of years. I thought I had made a 4pm appointment w/ Matilda, but when I got there, I was told Matilda had already gone home for the day. I took in the spanish-language program on the tv, looked around & realized I was probably the only person there not a native speaker of Spanish, saw how many people were waiting (for their turn? for the person they'd brought there?) and realized that perhaps the person who took my name didn't understand "appointment", only the time I was asking about.

Attempt #2: Called the salon I used last time, where the woman had done a particularly good job (20 miles away, which is why I didn't call them first). I was told that donation cuts are done on a walk-in basis only; probably because they do it for free, so paying customers get first dibs. Fair enough. So I drove over there after church this morning only to find a different salon there! I tried to reach TW to have him check the address (which of course I'd left at home, along w/ the phone number), but no luck, so I went into the salon anyway. The gentleman working alone had obviously never heard of Locks of Love and couldn't take me anyway, so I drove back home, having wasted nearly 2 hours in the process. Once he realized what I was trying to accomplish, he did say that what I was trying to do was nice. I wish now that I'd had the presence of mind to give him the donation instructions I'd printed out.

Plan C: Call the place again, find out exactly where they are, landmarks and all, and try again next weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Still alive

I've just been grossly overscheduled - Mother Goose rehearsals Monday thru Thursday, then my February show had its first read-through last Friday and a chorus rehearsal Sunday. Tonight I have the night off, then Grand Duke rehearsals tomorrow & Sunday, Mother Goose Monday and so on. Load-in is the day after Thanksgiving, set build that Saturday, then it's Tech Week. My poor husband really will be a theater widower for a while there, as Mother Goose has a pretty heavy performance schedule - Thursday thru Sunday for 2 weekends, with 2 performances on Saturdays. And since I put in for my end-of-year time off before I even auditioned for Mother Goose, I can't really take any time off to recover.

As if my Tech Week schedule weren't full enough, I have a class at work that Wednesday and am called for jury duty on Thursday.

So if you don't hear from me for a while, I'm probably at work, in a theater, asleep or perhaps in a padded cell...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Enough comfort food for several people

Spent a good chunk of yesterday in the kitchen - made a big pot of veggie-beef soup, this time w/ some oxtails. The oxtails were disappointing: 1) They were supposed to thicken the stock but that didn't happen; 2) I had to trim a LOT of fat off the pieces; and 3) the meat was very tough and difficult to get off the bone. The soup's still good, mind you; it's only that the oxtails were not a particularly successful experiment. The only problem is that TW bought 3 1/2 lbs of the stuff, which I had divided into 4 smaller portions; 3 of those are still waiting in the freezer. Maybe I need to look through our cookbooks for an oxtail soup recipe so I can use that stuff up.

The pea soup I made for TW turned out every bit as thick as he wanted. He was insistent that it be "thick!" so I made it w/ 8 cups of water instead of the 12 cups the package instructions called for. This stuff was so thick, it would make traditional oatmeal seem runny; I dubbed it "pea sludge". TW was delighted with the results, though I did have to add back quite a bit of water when I heated it up for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let's say "Thanks!"

In honor of Veterans Day, go to and pick a card design to send to some servicemember stationed overseas. You don't get to pick who gets it or even which theater it gets sent to, but someone somewhere will get mail out of the blue letting them know their service is appreciated.

"The Sack Lunches"

From my e-mail. I've seen this before, but it's particularly appropriate today. Thank God for all those down the years who've served, whether conscripts or volunteers; God bless them and their families and friends.

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. 'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation. 'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. 'Chicago to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq.'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time. As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to Chicago.' His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty-dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you're doing it for him.'

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best, beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked. I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt, I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.' I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed in Chicago I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.'

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.' That is Honor.

Happy Veterans Day

Monday, November 09, 2009

Gonna hafta make this quick

Yeah, I know, long time no see and all that. Maybe I'll get caught up, but in case I don't - TW and I took a nice, long vacation in Yorkshire, where we had surprisingly decent weather, saw a bunch of really cool old stuff and I gorged visually on the lush scenery. We got home Thursday, then hared off to the cabin Friday afternoon to try to recover.

Panto rehearsals kicking into high gear - runs starting tomorrow night, load-in the day after Thanksgiving.

Got a comprimario role (i.e., named chorister) in Grand Duke, which starts Fri/Sat/Sun rehearsals this Friday. That means that, unless the chorus gets a bye somewhere, I'll have a rehearsal EVERY DAY between now and Thanksgiving! =:o So if you don't hear from me, it's because I'm at work, at rehearsal, or trying to get a little bit of sleep. Pity my poor theater widower - he won't be seeing much of me until the panto closes Dec. 13th.

Fall was particularly colorful this year, and the sugar maples were downright spectacular.

I'm sure there's more, but I need sleep.