Wednesday, December 31, 2014

February show

Turns out I'll be doing Harvey.  I get to play Veta Louise Simmons, sister to Elwood P. Dowd (played by Jimmy Stewart in the movie version).  I get to play ditzy, with dashes of hysteria and steel thrown in for spice - this is gonna be fun!

Goodbye, 2014

2014 has hardly been the worst year of my life - I finally sang a principal role with a company I'd worked in the ensemble with for years.  (Now if only I'd been more ready for that opportunity...)  I also got to spend the year laying a good, solid vocal foundation with my new voice teacher.  Designing hair and make-up for The Arabian Nights was a blast - very talented cast, who were willing to go where I pushed them, and the crew were equally talented.  The new neighbors who bought our late, lamented neighbor's house bid fair to become friends, which is always good news.  We learned at Christmas that two nephews will be receiving degrees in May, and that there's other good news due in late summer or early fall.

We also buried a neighbor, a church friend, and a former stage-manager friend, and Dad's health continues to decline.  I know I should focus on the good, but losing loved ones, or watching them hurt, definitely casts a pall on things.

C'mon, 2015 - you can do better than 2014.

Monday, December 29, 2014

How on earth did I manage that?!

Yesterday I got home from a week spent with family.  The Chief and I stayed in a hotel, which meant eating out a lot.  (We did have a supply of cereal, milk and bananas in the room, so at least breakfast was reasonably healthy.)  And of course we ate the usual holiday fare, though perhaps not quite as much as usual because the food was at Sister3's house and we were at that hotel.  Still, I ate nearly all my WW points and was very sedentary.  Despite all that, I actually managed to lose weight!  The last time that happened, I had two wisdom teeth extracted a few days before Christmas and couldn't chew much of the holiday food.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Big year ahead

When I go back to work next week, I'll contact my HR rep and start talking seriously about starting my retirement paperwork!  I'm actually looking at setting a last day at work; currently May 1st.  I've been working for the same company (though in many different capacities) for over 35 years -  I can't believe this "retirement" thing is soon to become something more than an abstraction, a "someday, when I retire..."

The Chief has already started teasing me about accompanying him when he drives out to the Midwest for family functions.  "We can bond in the car, and sing camp songs!"  He didn't object or protest when I responded "And I can teach you some G&S so we can sing duets!" (he insists he can't sing; he can, he just doesn't wanna), so I'm not sure how serious he is about those camp songs. :D

My list of "when I retire" things is very ambitious, as it includes:
  • taking piano lessons (I don't play a note, but would like to learn at least enough to plunk out new songs I want to learn);
  • taking music classes, maybe even getting a degree - voice lessons haven't taught me music theory, for instance;
  • volunteering - SO many desperately deserving causes!
  • auditioning for a local community theater company which has a very heavy performance schedule - up to 6 nights a week!
I'll also continue to do community theater, in addition to the odd costuming, hair & make-up assistance, for which I may have more time (if I'm not practicing scales or serving food at a soup kitchen or traveling with the Chief). 

The Chief is looking forward to my retirement because I'll then be able to take back grocery-shopping duty, which he took over when he retired 6 years ago.  I tease him that he'll miss out on seeing all the babies shopping with their parents; apparently that's a sacrifice he's willing to make. :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Crazy vocalist tricks

I sometimes tease my voice teacher about the tricks and exercises she has me do in order to achieve
various goals - releasing tension, improving breath control, changing voice placement or what-have-you.  Some that come to mind off the top of my head:
- sticking my tongue out as I sing vocal exercises (vocalises);
- singing vocalises while holding a drinking straw crosswise under my tongue;
- singing vocalises while holding the straw in my teeth but in front of my tongue;
- dancing around "like a ballerina" while singing whatever piece we're working on at the time;
- draping myself, stomach down, over an exercise ball and rocking on it while singing vocalises;
- thumping myself on the chest while singing vocalises.

Pretty wacky stuff sometimes, but we have fun with the silliness.  Better, it's working - I'm releasing vocal tension, improving my sound, boosting my breath support, and generally singing better than ever.  Still much room for improvement, of course, but I'm feeling a lot better about how I'm singing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

One more crack at a February show

I learned last night that the group I did "Guys and Dolls" with a couple of years ago is holding auditions for "Harvey" this coming week.  Gotta do a little homework and see if it has any roles for middle-aged women.  It's not a musical, of course, but it is a chance to be on stage, and it should be fun.

Sewing again

A local chorus is doing a Messiah sing-along this Sunday as a benefit. They're using our church as the venue so they've invited our choristers to join them and I'm one of those who are taking them up on the offer.  I managed to get to their last rehearsal Monday night (SO much fun singing those choruses!), where it was announced that dress code for the women is a full-length black skirt and long-sleeved red blouse.  No blouses of any color in my closet, but it seems my red turtleneck will do.  The "wardrobe mistress" (the woman making the dress code announcement) looked pained when I told her my longest black skirt is only boot-length but gave her grudging approval.  

I used that as an excuse to swing by the fabric store after work this afternoon (yes, I braved a mall on Black Friday and lived!) and buy a simple skirt pattern and some fabric.  I went with a black short-nap velour.  The panne velvet was a bit flashier than I really wanted for a "uniform", and the woven solids were either too shiny/sparkly or too dull-looking.  Well, there was that one floral jacquard, but it wasn't one of the sale fabrics.

I cut everything out tonight - easy when it's only 3 pieces.  I plan to put it together tomorrow and see if I can dragoon, er, beg someone to pin the hem for me.  It suddenly occurs to me that I should have cut it so I can add pockets - argh!  Maybe I can fudge the seam allowance a little...

"Break-through moment"

That's what my voice teacher called it.  We'd been working on the Schubert "Ave Maria" and she gave me a visualization trick to try.  I noticed the difference immediately - I could feel the sound acquire "spin" or resonance, and it wasn't as much work to produce it.  I've been taking voice lessons for years but there's still so much to master!

Yes, this singing stuff can be hard work: supporting the breath fully instead of "under-singing"; sustaining that support all the way through a phrase, then an entire piece; enunciating properly; focusing the sound and keeping it forward in the mouth (mine keeps wanting to head for the back of my throat); conveying the message and emotion of the piece; and not frowning in concentration while I try to keep all that going!  Seemingly little things like that visualization trick can mean a lot when you feel you've just bumped up a level - encourages you to keep at it.  Now if I could just get someone to hire me to sing at their wedding or something... :)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Sad duty

A friend's mom called last Sunday to let us know that she'd died the week before.  R asked me to pass the word to other members of the theater company for which P had been stage manager for so many years.  I spent a few hours on the phone over the next couple of nights calling people and reminiscing, as well as on line with strangers (to me) who'd gone to school with her.  It seemed odd to be the one to tell these people what little I knew, though at least I was able to let them know they hadn't missed the funeral.  Yesterday R called me, upset because the church's music director hasn't gotten back to her yet and she wanted to be able to do the funeral program. I offered to help, though I turned out my services weren't required; the music director called R last night.  The music director apparently planned to call me, though I haven't heard from her yet.  Doesn't help that I left my phone at home when I left for the theater this evening. :(

No audition after all

Turns out the group I was going to audition for this week is an employee club, and they only take "guests" if they can't cast the show from within.  At least I learned this before I headed out.  I was just as glad to stay home that night; I hadn't slept much the night before and was exhausted.

The house smells delicious!

A colleague and I were talking food yesterday and he told me about the chicken stew he'd made the night before.  It sounded so good that I got some details, added the necessary items to the grocery list, and today I put together my own batch.  Chicken thighs (minus skin and most of the fat), half a pound of baby bellas, onion, garlic, a sweet potato, a coupla little red potatoes, some fresh oregano and parsley from our yard, a little vegetable broth and a few sprinkles of poultry seasoning.  Eight hours in the crockpot could be torture - that wait seems like forever when the house smells so wonderful!  At least we have a wonderful dinner to look forward to tomorrow, or maybe lunch.  Or even breakfast...

Saturday, November 08, 2014

One more chance

I just learned of another company holding auditions next week, this time for a musical.  Only one mezzo role, and I don't know how large their ensemble will be, but hope springs eternal.  I've already alerted my voice teacher that I want to work on audition pieces again this week, especially as this group wants to hear two short, contrasting pieces.  Tomorrow I'll have to dig through audition pieces I've known and loved and pick some candidates to take to my lesson.  

I've missed my lesson the past two weeks thanks to rehearsals, so that's all the more reason to look forward to it.  My choir sang a funeral this morning and one of the pieces the family requested was the Schubert "Ave Maria".  Not only did it prompt me to think a bit about the music I want for my own funeral, but it also reminded me that I need to memorize the Ave Maria so I'll be ready should someone ask me for it on short notice.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

0 for 3

Turns out I wasn't cast in the show I auditioned for Monday, so I'm 0 for 3 in auditioning for February shows.  I offered to tech for this one; we'll see if they take me up on the offer.  Now to see what shows will be playing later in the spring that have roles I might be considered for.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Busy coupla theater weeks!

Last week I had rehearsals Monday thru Thursday.  Friday TW and I went to opening night for the production of Addams Family that I'd been called back for.  Saturday I took apart my Act I dress so I could move up the skirt and take the dress in at the waist.  Saturday night - rehearsal.  Yesterday I reassembled the dress, then had an audition that night.  Tonight - another audition, then came home and hemmed the dress.  (Now it just needs a self belt, but that can wait.). Tomorrow and Wednesday are our final rehearsals for "Death Takes a Holiday", and we open this Friday!  Whew!

Now that's prompt!

I had an audition last night; tonight was the second night of auditions.  I got an email at 10 tonight letting me know I wasn't cast.  That has to be a record for notifying people!  They must be working from Rose Maybud's etiquette book - "Leave no one in undue suspense."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

1930s sewing project

I'm in rehearsal for a play that takes place in the early 1930s.  In a fit of over-optimistic ambition, I told the producer I'd make my own Act I dress.  I bought pattern T3412 (costumedeeva, on eBay), started a muslin work-up, and found that the pattern is, of course, not nearly as busty as I am. :(  Last night I sent out an SOS to a pair of costume goddesses it's been my privilege to work for on one show and another.  To my delight, the goddess coming to my rescue is the one who has her own pattern line for one of the Big4!  I'll be heading over to her place Saturday morning, dragging my muslin and pattern, and the only payment she'll accept is to allow her to blog about the fitting process.  I'm excited - not only will I be guaranteed a good fit, but I get to provide material for her bog, which I've enjoyed since she started it.

Bought my dress fabric this afternoon; I hope A will approve of my choice. :)

Maybe I should play the lottery...

This afternoon I went shopping for a few cold-weather tops for a "go bag".  Went in, picked 3 to try on, bought all 3 .  I *never* get that lucky with fit and colors!  Spent a little more than I'd hoped, but I checked a box and got outta there in no time at all.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Another day spent in the kitchen

The latest issue of Cook's Country magazine arrived last week.  I actually managed to flip through the whole thing pretty much right away, and of course I found a couple of recipes I wanted to try right away.  The reduced-fat pastitsio just came out of the oven a few minutes ago and smells a lot like the traditional recipe I haven't made in years (because a. it takes 1.5 hours just to put it together and b. my cut-down version makes enough for 12-15 people).

Yesterday I bought fresh ginger and garam masala for the first time, for chicken tikka masala.  It must be fate - just a day or two before the magazine came in, someone had posted a chicken tikka masala recipe on Facebook.  I plan to make the Cook's Country version because it's lower in fat.  Can't wait to get to it, because the garam masala smells fabulous - looking forward to using it in LOTS of things, not just this.

Next project, however, will be applesauce from a few aging apples.  I love it - ever so easy, and it makes the house smell oh, so good!

I can tell I mostly do musicals because...

I learned the other day that I've been cast in "Death Takes a Holiday".  First read-through is tonight, and the producer sent out a preliminary rehearsal schedule yesterday.  It looked awfully short to me - 6 weeks of rehearsal before we go into Tech Week.  That's actually pretty standard for a play.  It's just that for someone like me, who's used to the 8+ weeks typical to rehearse a musical, it seems a bit compressed.

I had considered auditioning for a December show, but since this one runs until the weekend before Thanksgiving, that's too much overlap.  Even a January show might be pushing things.  February, however...

Monday, August 18, 2014

The review is in...

One of the local community theater groups has its own annual awards.  Each company submits one show from its season for consideration; the Yeomen of the Guard I did earlier this year was the one that company submitted.  A few days ago we received the consolidated write-up (I think different adjudicators rate different aspects of the performance).

I'm excerpting the comments on my role not because I like them, but because I agree with them; starting to beef up my lower register once I was cast wasn't nearly enough time, and I need to learn how to do "commanding stage presence".  With that, here's what the judges said:
Dame Carruthers’ role requires a certain robust authority which [I] lacked and she did not make a very formidable Dame, despite her confident stage presence.  [Well, I like that bit about the "confident stage presence". ;)]    In Act II she picked up energy, and the duet with Sergeant Meryll was a nice romp. [Because I got to dance! :D]

[Carruthers] and [Sgt. Meryll] were both weak in their lower registers, especially for Carruthers in her Act I song, lacking the required range. 

Throughout the rehearsal process I felt like the weak link in the principals chain.  While I'm sorry to be right about that, I also feel that, if I were to sing the role today, not 6 months later, that weak lower register would have more power & resonance.  Ah well; I'll keep plugging away and eventually I'll be ready for the roles I've already done. ;)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The latest audition

I went to another audition Thursday night.  I almost didn't go, for several reasons:
  • This company tends to cast young and I'm well over 30;
  • I'm neither a hoofer nor a belter;
  • I didn't really have an audition  piece ready.
The audition piece was the biggest problem because my voice has been in transition since I've been working with my latest teacher.  That's not a bad thing, but it means that right now none of the audition pieces I've used before feels comfortable and I haven't yet worked up anything new.  I ended up using something I've used (unsuccessfully) before, but about a fourth lower so that it sits squarely in my chest voice.  Naturally, "Last-minute Linda" here didn't really start working the song in the new, lower key until a couple of nights before the audition.  As a result, as late as dinnertime Thursday I was debating whether to go.  I did go, though, and a good thing, too.  A friend was there ahead of me in the order and stayed until I finished.  He told me I sang my piece with better resonance than when I did Carruthers, which was encouraging.

But the really encouraging thing was when they called me Friday to say I was being called back for the ensemble so the choreographer could put us through our paces.  Unlike the disaster that was my last dance audition, this one was fun and funny, and I remembered all of it.  The demographics were typical for community theater - 3 men and 11 women.  They didn't say how many ensemble members they're looking for.  ("How many people does he need?  How many boys, how many girls?")  I imagine it will depend in part on how their music is scored and therefore how many people they'll need to cover all the parts.

My friend was called back too, for one of the principals.  There are 4 possible outcomes: he gets cast and I don't; I get cast and he doesn't; we both get cast; neither one of us gets cast.  They promised we'd hear one way or the other by Wednesday night.  Now I just have to distract myself with my sewing and my voice lesson "homework" while I wait.

Prepping for the Chief's surgery

To get ready on the home front for the Chief's surgery, I'm making him a couple of pairs of elastic-waist lounge pants so he can pull them on and off one-handed.  I also laid in a supply of velcro "buttons" to be sewn onto several shirts so he doesn't have to try to deal with buttonholes or pull shirts on and off over his head.  I may also sew a casing and run elastic on one or two other pairs of lounge pants, just so he'll have more than 2 pairs in summerweight fabrics.  (Flannel he's got, though one pair is "seasoned" enough that it's about ready for new elastic.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Some days are just like that.

At mass last night, my lengthy prayer list was really weighing on my heart.  I don't know why; it wasn't an anniversary of anything, and I hadn't gotten any bad news about anyone that day.  Some days are just like that, I guess.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Nice save!"

August 15th is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary or, in the Eastern church, the Dormition of the Virgin.  None of the parish's three choirs was scheduled to do music, which isn't unusual for weekday feasts.  However, after the final blessing, the priest asked if we could sing a song for Mary.  Then began the looking around, looking away, not meeting anyone's eyes.  After a few moments, I started "Immaculate Mary", and everyone joined in almost immediately; at least one person was even singing harmony. :)  I had a few people thank me after mass, and one gentleman, who has one of the best voices in my choir, came up to me afterwards and said "Nice save!" :)  As I told him, someone had to do it, and since no one else seemed eager to do so, I started the Marian hymn I know best.

It's a good thing I came to this mass and not the one I'd originally planned on. A fellow parishioner told me after mass that the memorial mass for their son is tomorrow morning (poor little guy died 2 years ago, at only 6 years old).  Now I'll be able to be there (the Chief is at the cabin this weekend) and swell attendance, however slightly.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Regency project stalled

My Regency dress project is completely dependent on having stays that fit properly.  The ones I ordered seemed a bit small.  I notified the vendor but held off on answering her questions or returning the stays until I had my chemise roughed in and could try the stays on over the garment that would be going underneath.  I got to that point on Monday and finally tried the stays on over the (still-unfinished) chemise.  No good.  I took several pictures, emailed them to the vendor, and took the stays to the post office. 

I had hoped to wear the dress to Saturday's wedding; obviously that didn't happen.  Ah well; I now have lots and lots of time to figure out how I'm going to redo the neckline casing, which is too narrow to thread anything through it.  I've already trimmed the seam allowance, so I can't just pick out the stitching and reattach.  I may have to cut out a new one and replace the first one.  :(

I also need to come up with some petticoat fabric.  I wanted white microfiber but an hour spent searching on line turned up nothing suitable.  I ordered some "china silk" but, as I expected, it isn't what I had in mind at all.   It turned out to be that shiny, rather stiff lining fabric.  Now to send out an SOS to several costumers of my acquaintance and to the owner of Sense & Sensibility Patterns and see what they recommend.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

More reasons to play in the dirt

This morning I visited the friend who used to have a small nursery
 specializing in hostas and, to a lesser extent, ferns. He sold off the nursery business a coupla years ago and now gardens just for himself. He's trying new plants in the space, some of which are "prolific reseeders". He gave me a big clump of a few - cardinal flower, Black-eyed Susan, sweet William, ajuga, and threw in a blue mouse-ear mini-hosta just because. He also gave me a big bucket of compost. He would happily have given me lilies or any of several other plants he was thinning out.  If I had the space and the right conditions, I'd've taken some, too.  I planted the ajuga in a couple of bare spots, will try to get the rest in the ground tomorrow.  I told him I need to reciprocate with dinner or something - a nursery would've charged me plenty for all the plants and the home-made compost he gave me for free.

I also picked up my iris order.  I picked up a few extra rhizomes from the bargain basket, and he asked me if I'd like a few free ones. Of course I said yes! When I get a chance to see how many I actually ended up with (he always includes more than you ordered), I'll have to work out where they'll all go.

I garden pretty haphazardly, filling spots as they open up, buying (or "adopting") plants on impulse.  It's a wonder the yard doesn't look an utter wilderness!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sometimes you find perfection in the most unexpected places.

Today it was the cafeteria at work, of all places!  Very stressful morning, trying to get too many things before leaving at lunchtime.  Dashed thru the cafeteria to get something to eat in the car; I stopped at the DIY sandwich bar. Rye bread, honey mustard, rare roast beef, lettuce and some beautifully ripe tomato - perfection!  Seems silly, but with every bite I marveled at how good it was.  Maybe it's just been too long since I've had a "proper" roast beef sandwich?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Regency project, day one

A while back I got this bee in my bonnet to make myself a Regency dress (think Jane Austen), complete with underpinnings.  I even bought patterns for two kinds of stays, though I quickly realized that would be a MUCH too ambitious project for my relatively rudimentary sewing skills.

Tonight, after a month or two spent in pondering fabrics and buying patterns, I got the chemise cut out.  The assembly looks pretty straightforward, so with luck, I'll get it sewn up tomorrow.

I ordered custom stays, but they seem to be too small in the ribcage. The maker had some diagnostic questions for me; I owe her answers.

Still to do: a petticoat (dress fabric is dotted swiss, which is on the sheer side), the dress, and a bonnet.  Yes, I'm crazy enough to try to attempt my own millinery; good thing I was able to find a pattern on Etsy.  Oh, and I need to find a pair of shoes to go with this ensemble.  I hope to find a pair of plain white ballet flats, but may have to settle for something else.

There's a historic home in our area that holds Regency- and War of 1812-themed events.  When (not if) I finish my sewing adventure, I'll have to find out when their next event is.  I'm not ready to subject myself to the scrutiny of serious reenactors - my hand sewing is not up to that challenge - but if I can pass for a decent amateur, that'll be good enough for a maiden attempt.

There's an event coming up Aug. 2nd; wonder if I could finish at least the dress, if not the bonnet, in time?

Updates to follow; costume fans, stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

"Here I come to save the day!"

Last week I got a somewhat panicked email from a director I've done a few shows with.  She's directing Sound of Music, opening in mid-July, and was there any chance I could play Frau Schmidt?  After checking with the Chief that we didn't have any plans, I agreed to do it.  Then I looked at the calendar; I'd just agreed to take a role (good thing it's a small one!) in a show that opened in just TWO WEEKS! =:o

I've now had 3 whole rehearsals and am already sorta off book.  Good thing, as we tech in this Sunday.  Monday we have an open rehearsal (i.e., with a paying audience), so I really want to be off book for that.

Costume fittings tonight.  I'll be wearing a brown dress, several sizes too large, but elastic at the waist will make it work.  Brown is definitely not my color, but I don't mind. After all, I'm the housekeeper, not the lady of the house.  My sartorial compensation is that I also have a walk-on as Fräulein Schweiger in the concert scene near the end, so I get to finish the show in my authentic Austrian dirndl.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Audition update

So, that "lovefest" audition.  I got a very lovely response with a lot of positive feedback.  I shared it with my voice teacher and with a friend (himself a voice teacher and performer). All of us were very impressed with how much feedback they gave me - not just "nice voice but not what we're looking for".  And to think they did something like that for every single one of the people they didn't cast!

I also auditioned for a production of The Wedding Singer.  I've auditioned for this company before and gotten nuttin'.  I'm guessing it's because a) I can't belt (yet) and b) I'm over 50.  Got the "thanks but no" call last night.  Not a surprise.  Not only did I go into it expecting not to be cast, but I crashed & burned on the dance audition.  The chunk they tried to teach us was complicated and FAST!  I remembered the beginning, the end, and the occasional scraps scattered thru the middle.  "Good for my humility," as a college roommate of mine used to say.

 Now I'm focusing on a sewing project, then it's back to hunting up auditions for fall shows.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Made a sale

I managed to make one sale.  The last customer was discussing her purchase with another vendor - what sorts of things would go with her new bra-belt set.  I brought over one of my skirt sets, which just happened to include a skirt in one of her favorite colors.  Sold!  I really would have preferred to sell more, of course, but at least I made one sale, and that one enough to cover my vendor's fee with a little bit of profit.  It was a nail-biter, though; I had already started packing up my items.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Trying not to get discouraged

I brought a suitcase full of stuff to my first bellydance swap meet, full of hope that I'd come home with an empty (or nearly so) suitcase.  An hour and a half into the 3- hour event, I've sold exactly nothing.  Not the bargain-basement-priced beaded costumes, not the skirt sets, not even the dirt-cheap fabric remnants!  I need to sell something just to recoup the cost of my table rental; I'd really rather not go home with everything I bought and have spent the vendor fee (and my time and gas) for nothing. :(

But there's still an good hour to go - maybe someone will arrive who's the perfect size and coloring for one (or both) of the costumes, or for whom one of the skirt sets will be perfect.  I can dream...

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Squash and rudbeckia are planted; now to see how they do.

Today I took the plunge and planted my rudbeckia and butternut squash seedlings.  The squashlings are 2" to 3" tall and pretty robust.  My baby rudbeckia are a little shorter and much more delicate-looking.  They also didn't get quite as high a real-dirt-to-clay ratio as the squash, as they're in a spot where I haven't planted before, so this is my first season improving the soil.

If my gayfeather ever germinates (it's hard to be patient when the other seeds have sprouted and are now in the ground), I'll put them in the same spot as the rudbeckia, since there's plenty of room there. I do hope that happens; it would make for a very cheery color combination.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Panic resolved - whew!

After being out of town last weekend, tonight I checked back in with the "Arabian Nights" cast.  I was pleased to find that they are now completely self-sufficient with their make-up.  However, one woman arrived in what should have been plenty of time, only to realize that she'd left her make-up kit at home and didn't have time to go back for it.  Panic, with a large side order of swearing at herself!  I offered her the use of a few of my supplies, and there's a drugstore conveniently located right upstairs, so she ran up and bought what she needed to get stage-ready.  When she came to me for a make-up check, I was able to assure her she looked fine.  She later thanked me, twice, for "talking me down off a ledge!"  All part of the service, folks. :)

One of the other cast members relayed that friends of hers came to see the show and commented on how remarkable everyone's eyes looked.  Yes!!  That's exactly what I was going for!  That, and one of the techs commenting on how "fierce" Shahriyar looked in full make-up let me know I accomplished my goal with the make-up design.  The one audience member I chatted with at the opening night reception who commented to me about the hair was surprised to learn that only one woman on stage is not wearing at least a hairpiece if not a full wig.  That tells me that what I put on that stage looks natural.  Striking make-up and natural-looking hair that still balances that make-up - my work here is done!  :D

Monday, May 26, 2014

A different audition experience

Friday I auditioned for the Christmas Revels on my way out of town for the weekend.  I was first given a name tag and ushered downstairs to get my picture taken.  I was then sent up to the mezzanine to learn the dance combination, which turned out to be a piece of an Irish set dance, complete with a couples turn.  That part was fun - it had been much too long since I'd done that sort of thing and I had to restrain myself so I wouldn't throw my partner & me into a wall or another couple. :D  We ran that sequence several times, then I was summoned back to the main floor to sing my two a cappella pieces.  Each of us went in individually, so unless you listened at the door, you didn't hear how anyone else did.

The singing was enjoyable, too; very "live" room, unlike some, where you can't hear yourself so it's easy to oversing and go off pitch.  No, I knew exactly where my pitch was, and the room seemed to be just the right size for my voice, which was feeling pretty good.  It certainly didn't hurt that the young woman who seemed to be there in an assistant capacity had a big smile on her face the whole time I sang, and the music director pulled one of those "not bad!" faces.

After everyone in my group had done our solo pieces, the whole group was called in to do the dance sequence.  We ran it once, then were told to do it again while talking with each other: "This is a social dance, after all!"  Then again, "and this time make some noise."

They gave us a few minutes to catch our breaths before having us do a little group singing.  The MD gave each of us a copy of a section of a 3-part kyrie, assigned each of us a line to sing, went over each part, then had us sing together.  There were 6 of us, so 2 on a part, and we seemed to be pretty well matched.  I thought we sounded pretty good, anyway.  The MD then had 2 of us switch parts, then we all sang the kyrie again.  It was a very pretty arrangement; I wouldn't have minded singing another repetition or few, but we were only the first group of the evening and they had to move things along.

For the last part of the audition, two of us chose the option of reading a few lines, available ahead of time, "in your best Irish accent".  Considering that I'd never attempted an Irish accent before, I won't vouch for how well (or poorly) I did, but at least they didn't laugh me outta there. ;)

The unusual part was how everyone treated us.  I had auditioned and been cast once before, but had to withdraw when I got assigned an extended business trip.  That was 7 years ago, yet the couple who are the life & soul of the local Revels organization both remembered me and even recognized me, despite my weight loss and hair cut!  They and everyone else working the auditions was very welcoming and encouraging, wishing everyone good luck. 

But what impressed me the most was Mrs. Revels' response when I asked when we might hear back.  She told me we should all hear by Wednesday, with the Yeses hearing last.  This was because she started with the Noes, giving each person feedback!  They anticipated 70-80 people auditioning; I don't know how many they'll cast.  Even if they cast 40, that's still a LOT of individual feedback emails!   Every other company I've ever auditioned for notifies the Yeses first; those not cast usually get a form email.  Which is fine; it's certainly better than not hearing at all.  But feedback on an audition?  That NEVER happens!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The toadlilies are spreading

Last spring I really had to wrestle with my toadlilies to separate them and they seemed to take the rest of the year to get over the trauma.  They did bloom, but not as profusely as in the past.  This spring, however, they're coming back with a vengeance, having spread a few inches to send up an outlier under the downspout, and a bit further to send another outlier where I had some begonias last year.  I may put just one begonia in that spot this year, and let the toad lilies fill in the rest.

The foliage isn't particularly noteworthy, but when it blooms in October, the flowers are well worth the wait - like stems full of little orchids, lavender with tiny purple "freckles".  The fact that it likes shade and damp is a bonus.  If I thought the deer would leave it alone, I'd take some out to the cabin and plant it in the beds with the hellebores.  Actually, given that the deer find something in the hellebores to be an irritant, maybe I could plant the toadlilies behind them and let the hellebores "stand sentry" over them.

They look great!

The Arabian Nights opened Friday night.  The cast did a good job - good energy, story-telling and movement (and the director has given them a LOT of movement!).  As I expected, they look fabulous!  She built wonderful turbans and other headgear for men and women alike, put them in lovely, rich fabrics in both muted and vibrant colors. The set includes "oriental" rugs all over the floor of the performing space, which also makes it look richer than the usual black floor one always sees in community theater productions.

The cast also did a good job of getting their make-up up to the level we wanted to go with the rich-looking costumes.  Many of them had trouble getting used to applying as much eye make-up as I kept urging them to do, but by Friday they were there and are even starting to like the effect.  (One woman, who came in a nice dress for opening night, decided she likes the dramatic eye make-up for evening wear.)  The hairpieces are working well, too; everyone has gotten so comfortable with them that if I didn't know they were "add-ons", I wouldn't be able to tell.

Now that I have an award nomination on my resume, I'm eligible to be a presenter at next year's awards ceremony.  I'd love to be the one to present the award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Play to our costume designer.  I'd bet serious money that she'll get a nomination for this show, and I won't be AT ALL surprised if she beats out the competition.  No, it's not about the awards, but I'm THAT impressed with what she's done - gorgeous work!

I hope they make it

The Chief and I spent last weekend with my family, as Mother's Day fell on Mom's birthday day this year.  While we were there, Sister3 dug up some of her lilies-of-the-valley for me to bring back.  These are special because Mom had transplanted the originals from her mother's house, so the flowers aren't just from my sister, it's as if they're from Mom and her mom, too.  I finally got them in the ground this afternoon; I hope they do well.  Got my fingers crossed that they'll bloom next year.  (The pips Mom brought me several years ago never did bloom, hung in there for a few years, but finally gave up and died.)

I also started some butternut squash, rudbeckia and gayfeather in "Cowpots".  I knew I wanted to try the squash again this year, but as we told the gentleman helping us at the nursery, last year's attempt produced plenty of flowers but only that one tiny little squash.  He recommended attracting pollinators by planting something butterflies love, suggesting 4 different flowers.  We settled on the rudbeckia (black-eyed susan) and gayfeather.

The rudbeckia sprouted first, but the squash is catching up fast - this morning's tight little sprouts have already opened a few leaves. We're still waiting for the gayfeather to sprout, but my online searches tell me they take anywhere from 20 to 45 days to germinate, so we'll just have to be patient.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quote of the month!

Sometimes my voice teacher will have me beat on my chest while vocalizing, to release tension or distract me from the bad vocal habits I'm trying to unlearn or some such.  Yesterday she had me doing the chest-thumping thing, then had me sing without it.  She obviously was pleased with the results, as she declared, "I think you should beat on yourself more often."

Friday, May 09, 2014

Did they really expect us to consider that a serious offer?

The Chief and I decided the queen-size futon is just too big for the guest room, so I advertised it for sale.  We bought it new only 3 or 4 years ago, barely used, so listed a price 1/3 of what we paid for it.  We got one person who seemed seriously interested - wanted details on size, pictures, etc.  Then came the counter-offer - less than half of our listed price!  Did they really think we'd consider that a serious offer?  The frame is solid hardwood, and everything's in like-new condition.  I replied "no, thank you."

Sunday, May 04, 2014

The wigs will have parking places

Eight of the nine women in the show will have wigs or hairpieces, all of which I bought yesterday.  Oh, and a few wig heads to put the wigs on.  I brought the lot to rehearsal tonight and asked our producer if he or someone else could put some dowels onto a board to hold the wig forms with their "residents". That will keep the styrofoam things from toppling over from the weight of the wigs, which will help keep the wigs and pieces in some semblance of order.  I should have it by next Monday, just in time for tech week.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Home after a quick but lovely weekend away

The Chief & I spent a quick weekend in Baltimore in honor of our anniversary.  We didn't get to dinner in Little Italy Friday night as originally planned - we got no more than a few blocks from our hotel before the rain & wind suddenly kicked up, so we turned tail and had dinner back at the hotel.  A bit pricey, but the lamb was good and the chocolate dessert was worth every calorie!  Yesterday we spent several hours at the aquarium, then strolled around the Inner Harbor a bit.  Went to mass at the Basilica of the Assumption (the organ there sounds fabulous!), then walked into Little Italy and had a lovely dinner, where I was reminded how much I enjoy pasta w/ clam sauce.  We walked back to the hotel because a) the temps were still mild and b) we wanted to walk off at least a little of that dinner. ;)

We learned Baltimore has a free Charm City Circulator bus, but finding a map or schedule proved surprisingly difficult; we finally got one at the hostel across the street from the basilica.

As we were driving back today, we decided we need to go back for a longer stay - too many things we didn't get a chance to do.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Can Pilates make me a better singer?

I started taking Pilates classes at my gym a few months ago.  I'm still a long way from being able to do several of the moves, but my abs are definitely starting to feel stronger, or at least less weak.  I was noticing in my voice lesson today that the technique of breathing really low in the abdomen is getting a little easier; whether it's because my abs are starting to build up or because I'm just more aware of them I couldn't say.  I do know the Pilates is helping my posture; I don't hold myself well automatically yet, but I do catch my bad posture and correct it a lot more often now.  This is good in general but also for singing, because good posture brings the breathing apparatus into optimal alignment, and the better your breathing, the better you'll sing.

Forgive the self-indulgent blather, but the Pilates work and the techniques my voice teacher has me playing with are all experiments in physical self-discovery.  A lot to process, but it's keeping me learning.

Spring? Winter? Yes

We finally got gorgeous weather this weekend, so Saturday the Chief & I went to the nursery and spent way too much money on bedding plants, most of which he got planted on Sunday.  (By then, the pollen count was too high for me to go out and play in the dirt.)  Sunday the high was in the 80s! Wahoo!

Today we got a front moving in that brought rain, wind and MUCH lower temps - we have a freeze warning tonight, so the Chief & I went out and tucked all those new plants under "blankets" to protect our investment.

Shorts on Sunday and 2 days later I need my winter coat, scarf & gloves again.  This weather is whackadoodle!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Still excited

Tonight's production meeting involved a lot of down time while I waited for them to work around the table to me, but then Laurel took several of us to "tour" the costumes she's identified so far.  Gorgeous!  She's going for a primarily warm palette (peaches, burgundies, topaz) with a few bits of green, blue, a dash of black.  She's making turbans and similar headgear for the men, has a few gorgeous headdresses for the women already - I'm going to have to do some serious research to bring my game up to her level, and I'm looking forward to the challenge!

The set will include carpets all over the floor, pillows around the perimeter, a couple of tapestries hanging on the back walls, and a few set pieces that will multi-task.  I'm really looking forward to working on this show and contributing my little bit to the whole.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Looking forward to my first production meeting

Tomorrow night is the first production meeting for "The Arabian Nights."  I've been itching to get started on this, have already collected the cast's headshots off the company's web site.  What really has me psyched about this production, though, is the costumer.  She's a longtime dancer, ethnographer, and ethnochoreologist.  We've already been exchanging emails; she's going for a "medieval Baghdad" look, including turbans and beards for all the men.  She's also asked about braids for at least a couple of the women.  I don't think any of the women have hair long enough, so I'll have to look into finding wigs.

One make-up feature that will nail the look will be "cupid's bow" eyebrows.  I'm hoping the director will let me put them on at least 2 or 3 each of the men and women.  We've got an attractive, ethnically diverse cast; they'll be gorgeous once Laurel and I finish with them.  :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I still think they should tell us.

When Southwest announced that people could start flying with their small pets, the Chief asked how someone would know ahead of time whether any of one's fellow passengers were 4-footed.  The answer boiled down to "you won't."  Not a good answer when you're allergic to cats, dogs or both.  
Finding out only at the gate that you'll be spending however many hours in a tin can with one or more allergens means you can't prepare medically or try to get a different flight.  They're potentially putting people's health at risk.  They need to do better.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Eggnog trifle

Thursday night I finally got around to making the KAF eggnog cake mix that's been sitting on the shelf for ages.  Apparently I didn't prep the pan well enough, because a significant chunk - and I do mean chunk - of the cake didn't want to come out of the pan.  So much for taking it to work for a Happy Spring cake.

Instead, I made trifle.  I've only made trifle a coupla times and the last time was years ago, but I figured "How hard can it be?"  I broke the cake into chunks and put half of it into my biggest plastic container, then covered it with half a small box of vanilla pudding (made with a bit of eggnog extract added), then sprinkled on about half a cup of gingersnap crumbs.  Oh, and one layer was half the glaze that comes with the cake mix. Topped that with the rest of the cake, glaze and the pudding, then decided that wasn't enough pudding.  Made a second small box of vanilla pudding with a splash of eggnog extract, poured it, still hot, over the trifle, sprinkled it with another 1/2 cup of gingersnap crumbs, then topped the lot with a small container of cool whip.

It wasn't bad, and people seemed to enjoy it, but there are a couple of things I'd do differently:
1. Use a big box of pudding, and maybe even a small one in addition to the big one.
2. Maybe use a big tub of cool whip so I can add a layer in the middle of the trifle, not just on top.
3. Next time, grease the cake pan really, really well!  :)

In the course of browsing for ideas for my mangled eggnog cake, I found a recipe for gingerbread eggnog trifle, made with gingerbread for the cake.  I'll have to try that sometime...

Monday, March 10, 2014

The local version of the Tony awards

Last night was the awards ceremony for the local community theaters.  The venue, usually used for concerts (think Leo Kottke and Mary Chapin Carpenter), has an odd main space - broad but with a low ceiling.  Last night was packed, with about 500 of us at the various tables, nearly all of us in our glad rags.

I'd guess about half the non-black dresses worn last night were red, mine included.  A significant proportion of the remaining dresses were purple, with a few fuchsia and at least one turquoise dress that I could see.  I loved seeing everyone's finery.  There were even a couple of little girls there; one of them had on a turquoise chiffon dress, and her daddy had a matching tie and pocket handkerchief - very sweet.

I was one of six people nominated for Outstanding Hair Design in a Play (there was also a category for hair design in a musical).  In other words, the adjudicators put my work in the top six of the 72 hair designs considered.  Pretty good for my first time designing hair for someone besides myself!  I didn't win, but just being nominated is definitely encouraging!  Good thing, as I'm about to do more hair and make-up design, this time for more people.  Maybe the award nomination will paper over my lack of experience. :D

My next project

I've just been asked to design hair and make-up for a production of "The Arabian Nights", which should be fun.  The cast member who suggested me (we were in "Guys and Dolls" together) introduced me to the producer last night.   I mentioned that, after years of middle eastern dance, I've collected a few costume pieces and other things that might be useful as costumes or set dressing.

I've already started to think about how I want to style things, wondering what colors the costumer and lighting designer will be using, etc.  If I can't be in the show, working on the design team is the next best thing.  Not to mention that it introduces me to yet another community theater company.  I'm looking forward to this...

Friday, March 07, 2014

Taking the smartphone plunge

Now that the Chief is official as an Enrolled Agent, he's been looking into all the business stuff he needs - business cards, advertising and the like.  In pondering what vocal challenge or project to take on after Yeomen, I decided to start putting myself out there to sing at weddings.  We decided it might be a good thing for tax purposes to have a separate, business phone number.  Or more accurately, numberS - one for each of us.  This afternoon we hit the mobile phone kiosk at the Exchange (15% military discount) and came home with one new account and 2 new smartphones.

I imagine we'll take our own sweet time learning all the tricks these things can do, but we'll get the basics right off the bat.  Only trick is that, as we are reserving these strictly for business, they may not see much use for a while.  At least mine won't.  As April 15th nears, the Chief may find his phone getting quite a bit of use.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

When freezing hummus...

Lesson learned upon pulling things from the freezer for a post-funeral reception:  When freezing hummus, use very small containers - no more than a cup.  Otherwise, that lovely, dense stuff will take days to thaw!  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

First Sitz as a principal

Today was the Sitzprobe (first musical run-thru with the orchestra), my first as a principal with this company.  First time I've sung with an orchestra.   It was a little intimidating at first, and a lot of work to make sure I could be heard.  However, I think this is gonna be fun, especially once we have our set, costumes and - best of all - an audience. :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It's almost here!

Tech week, that is.  Saturday is the Sitzprobe w/ the orchestra and Sunday is load-in, with the cue-to-cue that evening.  Tech week!  When the theater magic happens!  I'm practically bouncing in my seat as I type, looking forward to seeing all the costumes (mine is navy) and the set, seeing how much luck I have projecting to the back row in my low register, finally being able to set spacing because we'll have the actual doors, "houses" and so forth.  There'll also be a "green room sweatshop", so I'll take my sewing machine to the theater along with the rest of my gear come Sunday.

I've always loved tech week, but for some reason I'm particularly excited about this one.  Maybe because this is my first role with this company?  Maybe because I'm psyched about the set & costumes?  Doesn't matter; gonna be fun.  Even better is the fact that I was able to take the week off work, so I'll be able to sleep in after getting to bed late after rehearsal every night.

TW is getting involved too.  He's already been out to the scene bay twice to help with the set and plans to help with load-in Sunday morning.  He's also planning to usher the last performance, then stay to help with strike.  What a great guy!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

What a sweetheart!

The woman who has done hair & make-up for the company for several years came to rehearsal today to meet those of us new to the company.  She's seen me do many a show with this group, always in the ensemble (once or twice as a featured ensemble member).  She came up to me after my first featured number and kept repeating how "tickled" she was to see me in a lead.  She thought I was doing well, sounded good, but what really amazed me was that she actually had tears in her eyes, she was so happy for me!  What a sweetie!

It shouldn't surprise you to learn that, when she does your make-up, she "signs" her work with a kiss on your forehead. :)

Getting excited

We load in 2 weeks from today.  We started running the show at rehearsal (as opposed to running certain chunks) a week ago, which is always fun (if a little scary at first).  Today our producer/costume brought the first few costumes for fittings.  Some wonderful fabrics there - this show is gonna look beautiful!  Our director didn't have all that many notes for us after rehearsal, and those were mostly fine-tuning.  TW helped work on the set yesterday and told me it's essentially built except for the painting.

Things are shaping up nicely - getting exciting! :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Busy theater weekend

Quite the theater weekend I had.  Rehearsal Friday night and again Saturday morning/afternoon, the strike & after party on Saturday, then Sunday I went from the cast rehearsal that afternoon to the orchestra rehearsal that evening.  Audition last night, voice lesson and rehearsal tonight - whew!

Tomorrow night's choir practice was cancelled, so I actually get a night at home for a change.  TW might not recognize me!  :D

Monday, January 27, 2014

Another audition behind me

Had another audition tonight.  Felt good going in.  Seems that was misleading, as I not only felt like I was struggling thru the register shifts but managed to go up on the words as I was going back into the A section. :( And they didn't have us dance, either.  I can second-guess myself all night - "I shoulda picked a different song," "I wish I'd had more time to prepare".  Doesn't matter; it's done, so on to the next.

Two more auditions coming up next week, both straight plays.  We'll see how they go.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Long theater day

Yesterday started with a 10a.m. rehearsal, which covered all of Act I.  From there it was off across town to help strike the set for the play I'd done some make-up consulting on.  Then we got to our just deserts - the strike party.  I'd forgotten that this director, a very sentimental soul, gives little gifties to *everybody*, including the person who shows up for one rehearsal during tech week, does a make-up demo, goes home, sends everyone detailed instructions, then disappears.

I got home more than 12 hours after I'd left the house, and put close to 100 miles on the car for the day.  I'm still recovering from the long day, but don't regret any of it.  :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Got a half a snow day

As I expected, we went in to work (or many of us did; many others opted to take leave) but were sent home around lunchtime.  No pilates class, but it turns out we wouldn't have had class anyway - today was the last day the group fitness classroom was closed for floor refinishing.

I opted not to go to my voice lesson, but my teacher offered an alternative - a lesson via Skype.  It was a little weird, especially as she couldn't accompany me due to the time lag, but we managed to get some good work done.  I still prefer an in-person lesson, but with an audition next week and Yeomen opening in a month, I'm glad I didn't have to miss this week's lesson.

TW fired up the snow blower, with some difficulty, this being the first time we've needed it since the double-whammy blizzard 4 years ago.  He's made 2 passes, one this afternoon and a second after dinner, and the white stuff is still coming down. 

I wonder how much we'll end up with?  Various forecasts have upper numbers of 8-10 inches.  I'm starting to wonder if we'll have a delayed opening at work tomorrow, or if we'll be closed for the day.  I'd love to sleep in, of course, but I have a deadline that I was on track for and more time off will really wreak havoc with that project.  Oh well; if we have a snow day tomorrow, I'll just have to fall back and regroup when I get back to work.  And in the meantime, a snow day would give me a good, solid chunk of time to spend on learning my Yeomen material and brushing up my song for next week's audition.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Please don't send us home too early...

We're under a winter weather warning for tomorrow.  Snow's supposed to start sometime tomorrow morning (after I'm at work, at any rate), with a forecast total of 4-8 inches.  All the signs are there for work to send us home early.  I'm just hoping they don't send us home too early, as I want to be able to get to the lunchtime pilates class at the gym in my building.  If they send us home early, the gym will close early too. :(

I've only had one class with this teacher so far, but I definitely want more.  It's way beyond me right now, but nothing that isn't achievable if I keep at it.  Please don't make me skip a week - my core needs the work-out!

I guess I did pretty well, especially for a maiden effort

The area community theater community (over 30 companies!) has a recognition organization that does our own little awards ceremony every year.  The 2013 nominations were announced last night and, to my shock, I was on the list!  I was nominated for hair design for my November show.  Surprised me because, of the 7 cast members, only 3 had hairstyles that needed any research or special attention.  (The others?  One military cut, one old-fashioned bun, one daughter in pigtails, one daughter in a snood.  No challenges there.)  As I told the cast, though, they had as much to do with it as I did.  After all, while I did the style design and showed them how to achieve them, they were the ones who did the actual styling the adjudicators saw and scored.

This didn't feel like nearly as much work as, say, when I costumed the Pirates I was in a few years back.  I certainly couldn't have styled 3 heads without making the owners of said heads show up as much as 2 hours before curtain.  Since I trained most of them to do their styles (one woman was already well versed in doing period styles), then left them to do their own hair, I really do feel that the cast earned this as much as I did.  I didn't see the other productions that were nominated, so I don't know what we're up against, but maybe Sybil's victory rolls will tip the balance and earn "my" cast an award.  We'll find out at the awards ceremony in March.  Good luck, ladies!

Hmm.  Maybe the awards ceremony would be a good excuse to buy a ballgown... ;)

December birthstone - blue!

Saw yet another FB ad for a mother's bracelet and suddenly decided to look up December's birthstone.  Apparently December babies have 3 choices, all beautiful - tanzanite, turquoise and blue topaz!  Should I decide I want a mother's [piece of jewelry], I've got some pretty great choices for the stone.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

End of an era

When I moved in 20 years ago come August, Ed was one of the first neighbors I met.  He seemed much younger than his 60-something years - fit and full of energy, and the block grandfather/mayor.  TW likes to tell of how he went over to borrow a ladder and Ed got it from the back yard, tipped it over the fence, then vaulted said fence to carry the ladder over to our house.  Avid football fan - don't dare call or come to the door during the game!  Always out working in the yard, held housekeys for probably everyone on the block.  Then he started to get sick, to the point where his daughter moved back home to help him.  There were a few ambulance calls that had us all worried for him.  When we got hit with the double-whammy blizzard a few years ago and TW ran his snowblower up & down the block, he also helped shovel a gurney-sized path from the street to Ed's front door, just in case.

Last night Ed died.  No more pain and medical trauma for him, but his caretaker daughter and the rest of his family are grieving, as are the neighbors who were privileged to know him when he was still hale, hearty and friend to everyone.  Rest in peace, Ed, and may flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Friday, January 10, 2014

I thought I was over this cold; not quite yet...

I've been lucky in that this cold has been merely annoying, for the most part, instead of making me utterly miserable.  (Thank you, healthier eating habits!)  However, I'm apparently not out of the woods yet.  Today the chorus at work sang the national anthem at a ceremony this afternoon.  Because of the numbers, I ended up singing melody instead of alto.  Usually that's no big deal, but today the top notes were a real effort; I may even have been a touch flat on the Fs. :(  Fortunately, the other soprano is good and solid (operatic training, thank you very much!), so I just backed off and let her take it. :)

Tomorrow's rehearsal shouldn't be as bad; Dame Carruthers' music sits pretty low, and I think most of what we're working is ensemble stuff anyway.  That's one of the scarier things about having a principal role - no fellow ensemble members to cover you if you're not feeling up to par.

I guess we're the holdouts

I noticed tonight that none of the neighbors' Christmas lights were on tonight.  Ours were on, but that's chiefly because we haven't gotten around to unplugging the timer. That'll probably happen Sunday, when the weather should be halfway decent for that sort of thing.  (It's supposed to rain pretty much all day tomorrow.)

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Finally got a lead w/ this company and adjusting to how it feels

As I noted once before, I've worked with this company for years but this is the first time I've been a principal, not an ensemble member.  Friday and yesterday we blocked some of the bigger scenes.  It seemed weird to be singing by myself out in front of everyone else, instead of being blocked with some of my chorus buddies.  (There's one woman in particular with whom I always get blocked when we're in the same show.)  I'm having fun, of course, and enjoying the process of learning how much I can really do (which is why I was sorry to wave off this week's voice lesson), but given that I've had leads with other companies, I'm a bit bemused that it's an adjustment now that I've got a lead with this company.

People have been encouraging.  My one chorus buddy told me the other day that she noticed an improvement between that rehearsal and when I sang the same bit at the read-thru.  It was kind of her to mention it, and gratifying to know the voice lessons with my new teacher are already working.

Tried to dodge it, but no such luck

TW came home from Christmas with a cold, spent New Year's coughing and blowing his nose.  Good thing our friends only planned to stay the one night; I hope they managed to escape the contagion.  I was doing pretty well - made a pot of chicken soup, taking preemptive Zicam, making sure we had plenty of oranges on hand.  By Saturday evening, though, I could tell I was not going to escape the germs, and by last night I could feel it blocking my sinuses.  This morning I got the sore throat and the cold started moving into my chest.  The symptoms aren't too bad so far, so maybe the full-court anti-bug press wasn't a complete waste of time and effort.  If I can continue to keep the worst of it at bay, I'll declare victory and be glad it wasn't as bad as it could've been.  I went ahead and postponed this week's voice lesson to next week, and was relieved when my director called to say tonight's principal rehearsal was cancelled because the principal who's in everything we were going to run tonight had to leave town for a funeral.

As my director said, better I have the cold now than during tech week or, worse, during the run of the show! =:o