Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Squash update

A month or two ago I planted some seeds from the last butternut squash I cooked, crossing my fingers that they'd sprout.  Not only did they sprout, but they're doing so well in the relatively small space I have for them that I'm going to have to thin my 8 plants down to 3 or 4.  I may hunt up a large pot or two for the culls; we'll see.

Speaking of squash, there was a gentleman behind me in line at the commissary on Friday who was buying a whole crate of butternut squash!  He told me he liked to roast it.  When I asked if he'd tried squash soup, he said he'd only had it from cartons, so I gave him a very quick rundown of how to make squash soup from scratch (the cashier was finishing ringing up my groceries).  I wonder if he'll try making it?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

All in a good cause

A company I've done lots of Gilbert & Sullivan with is hosting a G&S Sing-Out over Labor Day weekend, during which we'll sing through all the music (no dialogue) of 12 of the 13 surviving shows, with piano accompaniment.  (The company will be presenting a concert version, with orchestra, of Utopia, Ltd .)  Yesterday was the committee meeting that's always the longest - assigning roles to people who'd requested them.  Lots and lots of moving parts to this piece of the process:
  • We had over 130 people sign up and request at least one role (most requested several, chiefly to indicate everything they'd be willing to sing, not because they expected to get lotsa roles);
  • Where possible, we try to give people one of their top 3 choices, where they stated a preference;
  • If we know the people involved, we try to match voice sizes when casting people to sing duets together;
  • we try to give at least a comprimario role to people who requested a role and are trying to break out of the chorus;
  • we try to make sure everyone got something;
  • We try not to give anyone more than their fair share;
  • We don't want to set anyone up for failure (giving someone a part too big for their stamina at the end of the weekend marathon, or too high/low for their range, etc.).
Fairness is one of the hardest things to achieve.  Tenors get more roles, simply because there are fewer tenors requesting roles.  We weren't able to give principal roles to all the women because there were a lot more women, and fewer women's roles.  Good thing Grand Duke has 4 female comprimario roles, and we doubled up on bridesmaids in Trial by Jury.  

Committee members were offered first pick of roles, but we limited ourselves to something we wouldn't be likely to be cast as.  I chose Phoebe (Yeomen of the Guard), since I'm too old to play her on stage.  However, I ended up ceding Phoebe to someone who, I was told, was an excellent singer but who had nothing when we finished. The other committee members were funny; "Are you sure you don't mind?"  I didn't want to be greedy, and I'd've felt bad if the other woman got nothing at all.  Instead, I'll now be singing Angela (Patience), with a side of Baroness (Grand Duke).  And of course I can sing all the choruses I can stand; I'm OK with that. :)

At it again

The group I've done most of my G&S with is doing a "sing-out" over Labor Day weekend, when we'll sing all the music from all 13 of the surviving G&S shows.  12 of these will be done by all registered comers, with conductor and piano accompaniment.  The host company, however, will be presenting a concert version of "Utopia, Ltd", with full orchestra.  Auditions are coming up Friday and Saturday.  I managed to get one of the first slots Friday night - the "get it over quickly" slot.  Competition for the role I'm interested in will be fierce, but I'm not gonna take chorus without at least *trying* for something bigger.  If nothing else, it'll be a good warm-up for auditions for fall shows.  Wish me luck!


The Chief and I headed out to the cabin Friday.  I had to come back yesterday and almost decided to stay home; I am SO glad I didn't!  When I woke up yesterday morning and wandered into the great room, my eyes still half shut, I turned to the window wall.  The view immediately opened my eyes fully - the sun was streaming in through nothing but trees, their dewy leaves sparkling in the sunlight.  The trees always look best at that time of day, when the sun is still low enough to be shining through as much as on them, but yesterday morning the trees were fairly glowing!  The temperature was very comfortable, the humidity too low to be worth mentioning - the kind of day that makes you rejoice in God's creation.

That sort of morning not only makes you glad to be alive, but makes you feel more alive.  That must be the origin of the exclamation "Great day in the morning!"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A surprise hit

Again tonight, the dinner menu includes green beans from the farmer's market, cooked in sauteed onions & garlic.  Prepping the beans made me think of the last time I served these - out at the cabin, when we had some friends joining us for dinner.  (Went with the "drunken chicken".)  I was surprised at the way our guests raved about the beans.  The woman next door wanted to know exactly how I'd fixed them, as it was the first time she'd seen her husband and son eat fresh veggies willingly, not just out of politeness.  "Um, easy - sautee some onions & garlic in a little olive oil, add the beans, let 'em cook for half an hour or so, until the beans are no longer crunchy."  You can add any seasonings you like, or other vegetables; it's one of those recipes it's easy to improvise with.

Friday, June 07, 2013

I don't usually choose bread pudding

The Chief and I went for a seafood buffet for dinner tonight. The tomato-crab bisque was wonderful, and of course the rest of the seafood offerings were pretty impressive too. The dessert selections weren't quite as good - I'm not a fan of crumb pie crusts - but I decided to try the warm pineapple-chocolate bread pudding, with a bit of hot chocolate sauce ladled on top. Oh wow - worth EVERY calorie! Bread pudding is not usually something I'm all that interested in, but this was outstanding!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

George has lots of company today

We were driving past Mt. Vernon and spotted THIRTY-TWO tour buses parked all in a row! Figuring 80 people per bus, that's a LOT of visitors! I sure hope George and Martha can handle those crowds.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Feeling sorry for Frankenstein's monster

I had to get an EMG last week, which involved getting a slew of leads stuck to my skin so the doc could test my "circuitry" (he even described himself as an electrician for the process). It was not exactly a fun time, though my fingers didn't do any lasting damage to the exam table. As I was lying there getting zapped, I found myself thinking of Frankenstein's monster. If the creature was subjected to far higher voltages than I was enduring, well, no wonder he came to life roaring!