Monday, September 27, 2010

Blank canvas

Our friend DB bought his first house back in April and as a house-warming present, I promised to plant a batch of spring bulbs for him. It's getting to be time to put them in, so now I'm pondering whether to get one color of crocus or several, where to put some tulips, what kinds of daffodils & narcissus to get, and how many of each I can afford. I also want to dig up some of the daylilies we've got too many of and set them aside for him. Sometime soon, I'll load up the bulbs, some compost and the tiller and go get his yard ready to be gorgeous come spring.

And come spring, if i get around to dividing my toad lily, I may take one or two over there to add to the garden. That way, he'll have some color starting to bloom around the time everything else is dying out for the year.

Toad lilies!

The single toad lily I planted last fall has thrived in its rather crowded little corner of this bed - notice how the impatiens are surrounding it. I'd never heard of toad lilies before the nurseryman out at the cabin gave me one when I bought a trunkload of other things from him last September. Now I'm a fan. The incredibly harsh winter and equally harsh summer didn't kill it off - look at those first blooms, which just opened today, after we got the first measurable rain in about a month last night. Those 2 tall green spires are loaded with buds at nearly every pair of leaves - can't wait until those open!

Looks like I'll need to divide this baby come spring. If I do and find more than just 2 or 3 bulbs or whatever, I'll probably take one over to DB's house and add it to his garden.

No Ruth this time

When I hadn't gotten The Call by about 8:30 last night, I pretty much knew I hadn't been cast, on the premise that all the "yes" calls would have been made first. Not a big surprise; when I arrived for callbacks, I heard someone else auditioning for Ruth and I realized I had some very stiff competition for the role. When she came out and I saw it was the woman who'd had the biggest female lead in Follies last year, well, no shame in losing a role to someone like that.

What was nice, though, was the way the artistic director told me he was "thrilled" with how well I'd sung. We chatted briefly about my voice teacher, then he mentioned the company is thinking of doing a concert version of The Gondoliers "this winter" and he'd like me to "be involved". Even if that never happens, for whatever reason, it's nice to hear someone trying to line me up for a future project - good for my ego. ;-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

I think that went well.

When I went for my callback this afternoon, they were auditioning another Ruth. She sounded pretty good, too. When she came out, I realized it was the woman who'd had the biggest of the women's roles in the Follies I teched last year - some serious competition!

When I went in for my turn, they just had my sing the first 2 verses of When Frederic was a Little Lad, as the director hadn't been there Wednesday night to hear me sing. Today's panel consisted of the MD, director and costumer. Not sure why she was there, but she's a nice lady, and smiled throughout as if she hadn't heard the song before and was enjoying it. When I finished, the MD asked if I'd been taking lessons, as my last 2 auditions for the company were the best he'd heard from me, that my voice was perfectly "in line". Not sure exactly what he meant by that, but he obviously meant it as a compliment.

They had the other Ruth read, as well as the Frederic who went in ahead of me and who was at auditions the same night I was, so I was a little surprised that they didn't have me read. When the phone call comes (or doesn't come), I'll find out whether that was a good or a bad sign.

Friday, September 24, 2010

You'd never guess...

... to look at these thriving impatiens that back in mid-August, they were at death's door from a combination of 2 months without rain and 3 weeks of highs in the uppper 90s or low 100s.

Glad that's over!

The Chief had his finger "surgery" this afternoon; "surgery" in quotes because the actual procedure took a grand total of about 5 minutes. The Chief said the prep took longer. When they called me in the Family Waiting Area, the nurse asked if I was the person with the bag of clothes. When I said "yes", she said they needed me in the patient recovery area and I could hear the Chief laughing in the background. When I got there, he was sipping ginger ale and holding his bandaged hand up. I had to help him get dressed, which was a bit of a challenge because he was ticklish and had trouble holding still. At least I didn't have to feed him dinner, as he managed left-handed eating pretty well.

So far, his finger is still numb from the anesthesia; he's a bit nervous about how much it's going to hurt once the anesthesia wears off. The doc gave him 2 pain prescriptions, though, so we're prepared.

I'm just glad it's over and relieved that, at least so far, it seems to have been a completely routine procedure. I knew my worries were unrealistic, but glad to have that confirmed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New music friends

Our parish is having its annual patron saint festival this Sunday. The festivities include a single 10:30 mass instead of the usual 9:30 and 11:30 masses, so our group and a few folks from the 11:30 choir will be singing. (The group that covers the 4:30 vigil mass is still doing that mass so they won't be joining us.) Tonight we had a joint choir practice to go over all the music for Sunday. We did so in greater detail than usual because the 11:30 group has 3 new key people: Their director cum organist retired this summer, so they now have a young couple as co-directors and another gentleman as the accompanist.

J is quite an accomplished pianist based on what he played tonight; once he figured out our tempos, he played as if he could do it in his sleep. Maybe he could; our usual accompanist, no slouch herself, was quoted as joking she didn't want to play anywhere near him as she felt he was so much better. E&M seem to be quite capable musicians themselves; both have nice voices (soprano & tenor), and he conducted us through an a capella piece they chose for communion. A few of us stayed after everything was put away and chatted with them for a bit; I think they (and their adorable tow-headed, chubby baby) and J will be a wonderful addition to the parish's music ministry.

A successful audition so far

Last night I went and auditioned for Pirates, along with a couple dozen college students and 2 or 3 other folks over 30. One of them played Ko-Ko when I was Pitti-Sing several years ago; he looks a good bit younger than I am, but he was talking about how old he felt, looking at the other guys auditioning. I looked around and had to admit, most of the guys didn't look old enough to drive; there were at least two that I had a hard time believing were old enough to be in college. DB felt they looked about 10. :D

We auditioned in a cavernous church social hall built with cinderblock walls and a tile floor. Not fun to dance on - my feet are complaining today - nor a singer's favorite acoustics; you couldn't hear yourself at all, which made it very difficult to tell how you were doing. However, I must have done well enough, as I'm called back for Ruth, piratical maid of all work and nursemaid to Frederic! Callbacks are Sunday, which gives me a bit of time to refresh my memory of the part. One theater friend has said that she considers a callback a "win", as it means they saw something there they liked. At callbacks you can lose the part because they want someone thinner, fatter, darker, fairer, or who doesn't tower over the 4'11" Pirate King - things you can't control. But they liked you enough to want to see more - a good thing!

I've already told my current and 2 previous voice teachers, a few friends from my last Pirates and a few others I knew would be happy for me. I'm looking forward to Sunday and a chance to do more singing and clowning around in the G&S style. I've got my fingers crossed that the fact I know the show cold will count in my favor, given that it opens just 4 weeks from Saturday!

A bit nervous about tomorrow

The Chief has had a problem with one finger not extending fully, which the doc told him was trigger finger. He's tried several things to relieve it, without success, so tomorrow the doctor is going for the last resort - surgery. It's done on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia, so the Chief will be awake to respond appropriately when the doc asks him to wiggle his finger this way and that to see if they've corrected the problem. Once the doctor is satisfied, he'll stitch up the finger, give the Chief a painkiller prescription and let me chauffeur him home.

The Chief isn't worried about the procedure, but is a bit concerned about post-op pain and what it'll take to keep it at bay. I, on the other hand, find myself unduly nervous about the surgery itself; I find myself dreading that something awful will happen and he'll lost the use of that finger or even the hand! The doctor was matter-of-fact about it, as if this is as routine as a tonsillectomy, but the thought anyone cutting into the Chief's hand and tinkering with how his fingers work... =:o Pray for his healing and my peace of mind!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to Be a Good Theatergoer

Those community theaters with sufficient space - heck, professional theaters! - might want to consider posting these prominently. I've certainly sat near many an audience member who could stand to be told of theater-going etiquette. In my experience, it's been the adults, not children, who were worst about talking during performances. Maybe I should start taking copies of this list with me when I go to see a show...

How to Be a Good Theatergoer

TheaterMania offers 10 handy tips to make the most of your theatergoing experience!

By: Brian Scott Lipton · Sep 3, 2010 · New York

Going to the theater may be one of the best experiences you will ever have in your life. But in order to make sure it's as enjoyable as possible -- for both you and your fellow audience members -- TheaterMania has culled 10 handy tips on everything from buying tickets to getting to your seat in time.

1) If you're going to buy your tickets directly at the box office, please be organized and considerate of others. Bring with you a list of all dates and times that work for you (and your guests) and ask the box office which of them has the best seats. The person behind the window will guide you to the best possible options; that's his or her job! If what you are offered isn't satisfactory, move away from the window and don't get back on line until you have a new plan in mind.

2) If you are at the box office or are ordering tickets on the phone and have a discount offer, present it or mention it immediately -- before asking for your seats. While almost all discounts are for "best available seats," please read the restrictions; some dates and/or seats may not be available under the terms of the agreement and the ticket agent does not necessarily have the discretion to make exceptions. And under all circumstances, please be kind to the box office people!

3) If you arrive at the theater or discover beforehand that you can't find your tickets, go to the box office; they will be happy to assist you. If you've purchased the ticket by credit card, a voucher for your seats can be arranged fairly quickly.

4) Make sure you know what time the show starts. While 8pm on evenings, 2pm on Saturdays, and 3pm on Sundays are standard "start times," your show's curtain time may vary. Not only is being late disruptive to other patrons, but certain shows do not seat latecomers under any circumstances! (Plus, who wants to miss a musical's opening number?!)

5) Give yourself a sufficient amount of time to get comfortably seated, go to the bathroom, or buy a drink or snack. In most cases, arriving at the theater 15 or 20 minutes in advance should be fine -- especially since most theaters don't open their doors until then. And since you have a preassigned seat, there's no real reason to be early and have to wait in line in the sweltering heat or freezing cold. And remember: it may be easier to use the bathroom in your hotel or at the restaurant where you're dining right before the show than waiting until 7:45 and dealing with long lines at the theater!

6) If you are bringing children with you, gently remind them they are in a public place and need to behave appropriately. For example, they need to sit still -- kicking the person sitting in front of you is simply not allowed -- and talking of any sort (even a whisper) is not acceptable.

7) Turn off your cell phones before the show starts; don't text or use your blackberry during the show; and make sure everything you turned on is back off after intermission. These aren't just suggestions; these are rules -- and in some case, city laws!

8) Do everything you can to make sure your fellow theatergoers can also enjoy the show. Remove your hat. Keep your coat to yourself. Unwrap those candy wrappers in advance. Don't talk during the show. It's not always easy -- we know that. Do it anyway!

9) If you see a celebrity in or outside the theater, please be respectful. Most celebrities are happy to meet and talk with their fans -- or even sign an autograph -- in the appropriate circumstance. Don't interrupt their conversation. Don't start screaming. And don't take their picture in the theater (since any sort of picture-taking is not allowed)!

10) When the show is over, do try to leave the theater quickly. Patrons sitting on or near the aisle need to make an extra effort to get up as soon as they can, so those sitting in the middle of the row can exit promptly. If you want to meet cast members afterwards, gather in an orderly fashion at the "stage door" where most actors exit and are happy to shake hands or sign autographs. It can be the perfect end to a perfect evening.

Definitely auditioning

What tipped the scales was learning that this week's choir practice is moved from Wednesday to Thursday; that means I can audition Wednesday instead of tomorrow. I need those extra couple of days as it gives me 2 days to practice, and a voice lesson before the audition, which is always a good thing. I haven't practiced a lick with Dad here, as anything more than half voice or higher than about a Bb in the middle of the staff wreaks havoc with his hearing aids. Turning 'em off doesn't help much; I can sing a bit louder, but still not full voice or pushing my upper range.

The later audition date also gives us time to run out & buy a new color cartridge for the printer so I can print a copy of my resume to take to auditions.

Getting to fall allergy season, but my voice felt good in church today (except across the lower passaggio, which is still difficult).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dad's in town

Dad's OCS class was having a reunion in Williamsburg this week, so he decided to build a visit to daughter and SIL around it. He got in Sunday evening and we stopped for (VERY good!) crabcakes & other seafood for dinner on the way home from the airport. We were pretty busy once we got home, since we hadn't unpacked from our "surprise party" trip; this meant unpacking from an overnight, repacking in a larger suitcase for a few days in Williamsburg that would include a coat-and-tie dinner, and getting ready for work the next day.

The Chief, with Dad riding shotgun, picked me up at work on Monday and we all headed off to W'burg. Beautiful day, and because I adjusted my schedule so I could leave at 2, we avoided most of the traffic. The Chief & I spent a few hours at Jamestown Settlement (their new museum is very well designed - nicely laid out, good organization, so you can immerse or browse according to your mood) on Tuesday but walking around in the heat & sun wore us out so much that we ended up eating take-out in our room. Wednesday we took Dad to "historic Yorktown", which turned out to be little more than a bunch of shops. Because Dad's knee was limiting his walking, we skipped the Waterman's museum, but there was a tall ship docked there that you could explore for free, which the Chief & I enjoyed. Wednesday night was the dinner, with a Col. Shaymes (sp?), one of the last surviving Band of Brothers, as the guest speaker. I sat next to him at dinner and he was a gracious dinner companion. When he learned that one of his fellow survivors now lives in Dad's town, he took Dad's contact information to pass on. Today we headed home and made good time - 2 pit stops and a grocery stop added only an hour to our travel time.

I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen - making my usual "vat o' salad" for lunches, mixing up some salmon spread for snacks (it would have been lunch, but we had to wait for the lemon juice to thaw), and heating some spaghetti for lunch. Laundry took us to dinner time; a nice, simple chicken dinner was a welcome change after the rich food of the past few days.

Tomorrow, the Chief plans to take him to the local fishmarkets for oysters on the half shell and to pick something for dinner tomorrow night, though the Chief wasn't sure what else they were going to do to fill the day while I'm at work. Saturday we hope to take Dad to the Eastern Shore for more seafood, perhaps a ferry ride, and definitely some time looking at water, boats, etc. No plans for Sunday yet, but we may go out for brunch.

"Running hither, running thither, runing running who know whither..."

The past coupla weeks have been a bit crazed. We spent Labor Day weekend at the cabin and had absolutely glorious weather for that Saturday's cook-out. We got home to a phone call from the daughter of one of the Chief's college friends - the daughter & her 2 sisters were planning a surprise 40th-anniversary party for their parents on Sept. 11th and could we make it? Our "absolutely!" meant a 2nd busy weekend - voice lesson after work on Friday, then home about 1/2 hour before the Chief & I were off to usher a semi-staged concert version of Sousa's El Capitan. (The March King was aptly named - an awful lot of his operetta music seemed to be trying to become a march.) Saturday we hit the road for the 2-hour drive to our friends' party, then home Sunday all of an hour before we had to leave for the airport to meet Dad's plane. Which put us on the "visiting parent" schedule. Tune in to my next post if you want details...

To audition or not to audition?

The biggest local company that does G&S just announced that they're holding auditions next week for an October production of The Pirates of Penzance. I'm tempted to try out for Ruth again, given the progress I feel I've made with my voice lessons. It would be fun to play her again, especially as I'd be doing it on a real stage with a pit orchestra. And because this company works on a higher level than the one I did Pirates with last time, it would be quite a coup. Problem is, I don't have much time between now and the auditions, and I can't really practice at full voice with Dad around - singing at that range would play havoc with his hearing aids. I'll have to bounce this idea off a few people (the Chief, my voice teacher, a coupla theater friends), sleep on it a night or two.

Monday, September 06, 2010

I'm in the crossword today!

Well, sorta. Today's Codebreaker crossword ( includes "intermezzo" as one of the words.

I like the Codebreaker crossword. No clues, but it always uses all 26 letters of the alphabet. Doing it online means that if I fill in, say, an A, the software fills in all the A's so I can see where they are and use that to figure out the remaining words. I can't always solve it, but I always enjoy trying.

More Hungarian

Another local company is doing Chicago this fall and a theater friend just learned she was cast as Katalin Hunyak, one of the women on murderers' row. We're already talking about when I can help her with the Hungarian lines. One more item for the Miscellaneous section of my theater resume. ;-)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

It's already starting

I replaced my cellphone 2 years ago come late October and of course Verizon made me sign a new 2-year contract. Now that said contract is getting into its final days, Verizon has started calling the house (the Chief tells me) and sending me mail, trying to get me to get my new free phone with them under their "new every 2" program. Free, that is, except for that little detail about having to sign another 2-year contract. Meanwhile, the Chief is shopping around to see if anyone else can give us a better deal and wants me to ask Verizon if they offer a military discount.

Here's hoping we don't have to do that again for a LONG time

Our dishwasher died a couple of weeks ago. Upon learning that it needed a new motherboard and that said part would cost $500 (that's after crediting the cost of the service call against the price!), the Chief & I realized we were going to have to go appliance shopping. Ugh. However, after too many hours spent in big boxes with concrete floors & fluorescent lighting, we finally found something we can live with, and which cost more than the replacement part would have only because we bought the extended warranty (5 years on parts & labor).

Here's hoping this one lasts a good long time so we don't have to go through that again anytime soon!