Sunday, January 31, 2010


Sorry, you won't find me signing up for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) in February. C'mon, are you kidding? I have a Tech Week and opening weekend in February; I'll be lucky to see my Theater Widower much. Blogging will just have to wait until after opening weekend, and maybe even after the show closes, since I have two 2-week classes at work that run nearly back to back. (Watch out for flying brain matter, as mine may well explode before all is said and done.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow day

Director decided last night to cancel today's rehearsal. Good call - we probably got 6" or so, and some of the cast would be traveling from parts of town where they tend to get ice rather than snow, or have to cross a lot of bridges and overpasses, where icing is also a probability.

While the snow meant our contractor didn't come by to cut more drywall for the bathroom (he does that outside in consideration of my asthma), it didn't stop the Chief & me from heading out to a matinee of The Young Victoria (GORGEOUS movie! loved the costumes!) followed by dinner at an "Irish pub". Before we left, I got another pot of soup started; after spending the afternoon in the fridge while we were gone, it's now back on the stove, simmering away. And if I don't get to pumpkin pie tonight, I'll definitely be making one tomorrow.

We came home to find that someone, perhaps a neighbor with a new snowblower?, had cleared the sidewalk the full length of our side of the street. That left the Chief with only the front steps and walk to do.

Friday, January 29, 2010

No spring show yet

Just heard back about Taming of the Shrew. I'm now 0 for 3 with my auditions for spring shows. Good thing there are still 3 more auditions on my calendar. The Chief keeps telling me to audition for straight plays, not just musicals. All well and good, but the problem is that straight plays have no chorus and thus a smaller cast. At least with musicals, you can take a place in the ensemble and let them see what you can do.

However. Three more spring shows to audition for - 2 plays and a musical. The musical is Bye Bye Birdie. Yes, I know I've already done it. The difference is that in this production, Mae Peterson gets to sing "A Mother Doesn't Matter", which was written for the TV special. That sits pretty low, though, and I don't have much of a belt yet. Maybe I could play Mrs. Macafee?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My husband the contractor?

Got home today to have the Chief tell me that "we" (he & the contractor) had finished putting up the moisture barrier and cement backer board in the front bathroom today. He's really enjoying this, learning all he can from the contractor, to the point that he's now ready to do much of the back bathroom himself. Not the tiling, electrical or piping, but the ceiling & walls and painting, and we already know he can replace a toilet. We may end up doing both bathrooms before summer after all. (Monday he was ready to postpone the back bathroom until fall, to give the bank balance a chance to recover.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One down, one to go

I've already heard back from the Moon Over Buffalo director - I'm not cast. Not a huge surprise, as it's a very small cast, with only 4 roles for women and only 2 for women over 30. The surprise is that she got back to me so very quickly - the last night of auditions was only last night. I let her know that I do appreciate her responding so soon, and asked to be kept in mind for costumes, hair or make-up. Now that I've got this fantabulous Vintage Hairstyling book, I'd kinda like to do the hair.

I'm not too optimistic about my chances with Taming of the Shrew, if only because they got such a large turn-out, including a significant number of very talented folks who've worked with that company and director before. But as I said, if I don't get either of these, there are 3 more to try out for. No summer shows, though; I promised TW I'd take the summer off - from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends, no rehearsals or performances. (Though I might try to get to the US leg of the international G&S festival - first US leg in a decade or more, to be held in Gettysburg, PA. Much cheaper and easier to get to than the UK festival!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We have a sink

The new sink for the front bathroom arrived yesterday. We had spent literally hours searching on line for a sink small enough (the bathroom is only 37" from wall to wall, not including the shower). The one we settled on was nearly 3" deeper front to back than the old one, but when it came in, the Chief held it up to the wall and we were reassured that our guests will still be able to get past it to get to the toilet or shower. It also looks nicer than the old one, which looked like it belonged in an industrial park, and is wider, with a little room to set things down.

Our contractor was taking his turn with a stomach virus his family was passing around, but he plans to take the Chief to get drywall tomorrow.

This process is long and dusty, but I'm resigned to the mess, given how much nicer the "patients" will be once this is all finished. And when it is, we're planning to have an open house to celebrate, and to show off the spiffy new bathrooms and built-in bookshelves.

Fun with actors

Back-to-back auditions - last night was for Moon Over Buffalo, tonight was Taming of the Shrew. Both were fun, in different ways. MOB is a door-slamming farce, and I got to read both the deaf older woman and Charlotte, the theater veteran. I got to be all histrionic and over the top - quite fun.

In that setting, all of us auditioning were in the room together. Tonight, each pair or group reading a scene went into a small room to read for the director and her assistant, while the rest of us waited outside, perhaps rehearsing the scene we'd been given with our scene partners. I ended up reading 3 different parts (Baptista, parent to Katherina & Bianca; Hortensio, one of Bianca's suitors; and Kate, the shrew). With Shakespeare, you do need a couple of runs through the text before you read it for the directors so you can catch the wordplay, figure out the syntax, and pick up some of the subtleties. The linguist in me loves the language challenge, and it was fun playing such different characters.

Last night's director didn't expect to need callbacks and promised to let us all know "one way or the other" by the end of the week. Tonight's director said she expected to be telling people tomorrow whether to come to callbacks on Thursday. I find myself hoping I only get cast in one show; I'd hate to have to decide between them. And if I'm not cast in either one, there are 3 more shows to audition for over the next month.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Prayers, please

As the Chief & I were on our way to the tile place this morning, I answered his cellphone. It was our contractor's wife - seems he'd passed out that morning and she was getting ready to call an ambulance for him. "He says he's fine and that he's still coming over but I told him no", with which I heartily agreed. The Chief called back this afternoon and learned that B had been admitted, that the docs had done 2 tests so far which had both been normal. So we pray for B's quick return to health.

We have tile

The Chief and I were at the tile store at 9 this morning, where we bought all the tile for the front bathroom. We ended up settling on the same glazed ceramic dots for the pinwheels in both bathrooms because the iridescent stuff costs almost six times as much! Which is OK - I think the navy will look quite nice. The pinwheels are kinda funny - you buy a "blank" which means a 12" x 12" sheet of pinwheels (4 rows of 4), with the middle bit missing. The missing, square tile is referred to as a "dot"; that's what we're getting in navy. If you've ever been in the bathroom of an old house, you've seen this tile with a black dot; we're just getting a slightly fancier version.

The shower will get plain ol' white tiles, spiffed up with an accent row at the top that will consist of 2"x2" squares of glass tiles bordered above & below by long, narrow (7 3/4" x 5/8") tiles. We got 4 colors of glass tiles, and the way it's sold, what we ordered should be enough for both bathrooms.

We ended up taking everything but the tile for the accent row. For some reason I thought we'd be schlepping great big, very heavy boxes - not so. It took a while to figure out how much we needed of each tile, and then to write up all the paperwork (separate forms for the special-order and stock tiles), but we were still home shortly after 10 - quite the productive morning.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Full day tomorrow, and it just gets more so...

We've known for a few days that we'd have the plumber & electrician as well as our contractor tomorrow. Among other things, the plumber will take a look at the pipes under the wall-mounted sink to see whether he can rerun them so they're close enough together to accommodate a pedestal sink. The electrician will be putting in the electrical box for the new lights (we're adding an overhead light in the shower and a heat lamp in the ceiling), moving the box for the lights over the medicine cabinet, running additional wiring for the new lights, and repositioning the switches for it all. The contractor will be taking the Chief along to get drywall and cement backer board for the new tile to go into the shower.

My contribution to all this will be to go back to the tile place to get dimensions on the one tile for which we don't have any (Johnson Tile, why don't you have that info on your website? tsk tsk tsk), and see about getting samples of everything so the tiler will understand what we want. Yes, I could sketch it out on a piece of paper, but the Chief wants samples, so samples I'll get.

I also need to take my digital camera in to the camera doc. It's definitely not a battery problem - no matter what I do, I get nothing but a black screen and a few of the function icons when I turn it on. In the meantime, I have way too many pictures trapped in there. At least I got the Williamsburg and Yorkshire pictures transferred to the computer before my camera quit, but the Locks of Love Before & After pics? Trapped in the camera.

Going shopping with my "design consultant" sometime tomorrow. We had a good session today, as she went through my closet to see what we could use, what wardrobe gaps most need filling, and on and on.

I would like to swing by and help paint the Grand Duke set, but the scene bay is nowhere near any of these other errands (in fact, none of them are close to any of the others), so I might not manage that one.

I also need to sit down and total my mileage for rehearsals, performances and other deductible driving, as the Chief has already started to work on our tax return. The energy credit on the new windows will help our refund more than I'd expected, and we had rather more deductions than usual in 2009, so the Chief wants to get that return in asap. Every penny of that refund is going toward the remodeling, so the sooner we get it, the better.

Oh, and I have rehearsal tomorrow night. Neither of us remembered until this evening to pull something out of the freezer for tomorrow, so it'll be a diner night. At least the diner is en route to rehearsal.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Stupid welcome dance" *

The Grand Duke includes a wild & crazy welcome dance about halfway thru Act II. We set it last night, tweaked it a little this afternoon, will probably continue to tweak it once we have everyone present. It includes a little "walk like an Egyptian", a bit of cancan, a little "Grecian urn"... Pretty energetic, and will probably leave the audience, especially the patrons in the first rows, stunned into silence. "What on earth was that?" "I don't know, but let's hope that was all of it!" It's fun!

* "Stupid welcome dance" is how the director described it. The stage directions call for it to be "wild" and "reckless", leaving all the dancers exhausted at the end. "Stupid" because our characters are a bunch of actors who fancy ourselves to be dancers, not real dancers, so what "we" come up with ends up looking kinda dumb.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On to the next

Got a call this evening from the artistic director of the company holding Mikado auditions. They'd had a mezzo drop out of their February show and would I be willing to fill in? "No is an OK answer." Well, since Grand Duke runs in February, "no" is exactly the answer I gave. "Oh, and by the way, we cast another Katisha." Someone with a "huge" voice, I was told.

Which is OK. There'll be other Mikados, and not getting this one means I'm free to take a work-related seminar being held in my hometown. I'd be able to tack on a few extra days and spend some time with family practically for free. I think it's probably a safe bet that my folks would be willing to let me use their spare bedroom, and maybe even feed me a stray crust of bread or so. I'd be paying only for the extra days on the rental car and the meals while I'm on my own time, not for the airfare.

Not getting Katisha also means that I'm free to audition for several other shows this spring - I've got 6 on my list, in fact, so if I'm not cast in the first one, there are several more auditions just waiting for me to show up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Six Ways to Help Haiti

Dooce posted this link to a post by Chris Sacca on Six Ways You Can Help in Haiti. God knows they need all the help we can send them!

Update: Several commenters on Mr. Sacca's post have provided links to other charities working on Haiti relief, and Habitat for Humanity ( is also gearing up to provide housing there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another audition behind me

Auditioned for a production of The Mikado tonight. I wasn't too sure of myself going in, both because today was my first voice lesson in nearly 2 months and because I'd battled another migraine earlier in the day, which rather wore me out and it never helps to audition tired. Oh well, no choice in the matter, since this was the last night of auditions.

In the little space on the audition form where you tell them what role(s) you'd like, I entered both Katisha ("an elderly lady" of the Mikado's court) and Pitti-Sing, one of the Three Little Maids from School. Given that I was the only auditioner in the room tonight who was obviously out of college, I hope the directors have a good chuckle over my requesting Pitti.

My singing didn't start out as well as I would have liked, but I think I finished pretty well, and they didn't ask me to do any vocalises, as they did some of the others auditioning. When it was my turn to read, I got to do the scene where Ko-Ko tries to persuade Katisha that he's in love with her. Great fun - the company's artistic director read Ko-Ko with great relish and I had a blast reading a thoroughly histrionic Katisha.

I don't know who auditioned last night, and I only heard two other women sing, but I think I held my own. No dance audition, but I had fun reading, so not a bad night. Now the waiting - I do hope they contact me even if I'm not cast.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Looks like we'll be going with pinwheels for the tile on the bathroom floor. The Chief hates, loathes and despises the traditional version of this pattern, with the black center squares, but when he realized we could get other colors instead of black, well, that made a difference. Current plan is for a blue "dot" (though I don't remember at the moment which blue we decided on).

We also plan an "accent row" of pinwheels in the back bathroom's shower, with all 3 blues (blue topaz, sapphire and navy) in turn. Should be pretty.

The discombobulation continues

Today we finally got around to dismantling the bed in the guest room and draping it and the wardrobe with plastic in a probably too-optimistic attempt to reduce the dust accumulation. The little rug in there will desperately need cleaning once this is all done, and the Chief has already vowed to give the room a meticulous scrub from top to bottom to get rid of the dust. It'll need it - we already have extra dust accumulating in every room in the house (and yesterday I found small chunks of drywall in the dryer, which is directly below the bathroom currently being overhauled).

Oddly enough, we also seem to be getting more dustbunnies than usual. The Chief claims they come from God, just like regular bunnies.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

This could be a brutal winter.

First snowfall in early December, 18-24 inches a coupla weeks later, temps that barely get above the freezing mark - we don't get hit like this until January or February! In 30 years in this area, I think this is the first time we've ever had this much snow or bitter cold in December, yet we've already had another light snowfall (inch or two), and we'll probably get more before April. We've got 2 shovels at the house & 2 at the cabin, but I want to get 2 more, for each of the cars, as well as a bit more ice melt, just in case. I think I need to pack the freezer with provisions too, against another snowed-in day or few.

We've been running the space heater in the kitchen pretty much all our waking hours and have the thermostat bumped up a little, yet the house is still cold. Makes us wonder if there's much insulation in the exterior walls. (That's one of the reasons the Chief wanted to open up the bathroom walls - to pack 'em with insulation.)

I just hope the temperatures moderate a little between now and Tuesday; I've got an audition that night and sub-zero temperatures make singing a lot more work.

Call him Demo Daddy

The Chief has been doing the demolition in the front bathroom to save on labor costs for the remodeling (and he'll do the same in the back bathroom once we get to that stage). I've been coming home to find him in raggedy clothes, unshaven, dusted with plaster and other debris and generally pretty pleased with that day's progress. His hands are pretty battle-scarred by now and look pretty painful, but he claims he can't get the same control of the crowbar and other demolition tools with gloves.

He's enjoying this process: discombobulating the adjacent rooms to reduce their exposure to all the plaster dust, pushing me to gut the contents of the bathrooms and closet to be remodeled (last night we threw out an amazing amount of expired meds; some expired in the 90s!), discussing the hows and whys with the contractor - heck, he's ready to sign on as the guy's assistant!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

"And the walls came a-tumblin' down"

Our latest project for the house involves remodeling both bathrooms (in sequence, not at the same time - we're not that crazy!) and overhauling the library closet and installing built-in bookshelves along one wall. In order to get the front bath ready for its make-over, the Chief has ripped out the (old, yellowed) plastic shower surround and is in the process of tearing out all the drywall, getting down to the original lath and plaster. After only 2 or 3 days of that, we already have dust everywhere, assorted hunks of demolition debris piled up in places, and a need for more dropcloths.

Oh, and to make room for the contractor's equipment, the Chief has taken most of the stuff outta the guest room (to be the temporary equipment room), with the bed to be dismantled in the next day or two. Which means everything we had stored under that bed is now in the basement, dining room and living room, and we aren't even finished yet.

This is easily the worst part of any remodeling project - the huge disruption of the house. "Where is X?" "Um... Did you try looking ____?" And the dust, and looking at ripped-open walls, the drafts from said walls, and the toilet on the back deck, and plans and fixture catalogs all over the kitchen and...

I just keep a white-knuckle grip on how much nicer everything will be once this is all over.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Didn't do too well

A year ago I ginned up a list of "maybe possibly kinda sorta" goals for the end of 2009:
  • hang some pictures at the cabin - the Chief & I got several hung over the summer
  • hang some pictures in the living room at the house - nope, not a one
  • expand my crockpot repertoire - oops, forgot about this one
  • start dancing again, at least a little bit - too much theater to squeeze this one in
  • maybe start using the gym at my new building - did start out with this one, though it only lasted until April
  • expand my musical/theatrical horizons - nailed this one - learned that "woodgrain" technique, learned age make-up, performed in a new musical for the Fringe Festival
This shows you why I don't generally bother with "resolutions". Pictures in the living room may happen this year, but not until the dust has settled from the 2-bathroom-1-bedroom-closet remodeling project. Heck, once that's finished, we may go on a picture-hanging spree, since we'll be rearranging furniture anyway.

New crockpot recipe this year? Maybe - I'll hafta ask the Chief to go thru my crockpot cookbook and pick something he'd like to try.

Maybe I'll try yoga - I know a fair number of people who love it, and the neurologist even suggested it for migraine relief (although simply cutting out caffeine has already done wonders).