Archive for ‘I Do Stuff!’

April 5, 2012

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Oh hey look! A place to write! And a few extra moments! WHAT? YAY!

So, as you may or may not be aware, I’m in a new show. Let me repeat: I’M. IN. A. NEW. SHOW. *

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More info on that to come. In the meantime, check out my beautiful cast (well, some of them):

 

We’ve been rehearsing for the last month, and as such, I’ve been SUPER busy. So busy, in fact, things (like blogging, and returning emails, and sleep…) have gone neglected. So today, a list of things I’ve learned/observed during rehearsal:

– I’ve missed this even more than I realized.

– The women in non-equity DC theater (at least those I’ve met) are TIMID. ** I’ve never been the most adventurous (non-company) woman in a cast before.

– Being the most adventurous makes you stand out. And gets you offered other shows.

– Having to turn down other shows SUCKS. Stupid family weddings and day jobs…

– Having a scene partner with GORGEOUS blue eyes is never a bad thing.

– More importantly, if that scene partner is a fantastic actor, you win. Or rather, I win.

– It is NEVER ok to accidentally call your husband your scene partner’s name. (In my defense, they both start with J.) It’ll just make husband even less sure about you doing this whole “acting” thing. ***

– It is totally acceptable to accidentally call your scene partner your husband’s name.  Be prepared for non-stop teasing from said scene partner.

– Boys are HEAVY. Especially when you basically have to dead-lift them. By yourself. Repeatedly.

– My back is stronger than I thought. Yay!

– My arms are not. Hello soreness.

– Extra workouts are not necessary when rehearsal involves running 2 miles.

– Some people take themselves WAY too seriously.

– Reciprocal total trust is an amazing thing. And makes for heart wrenchingly beautiful scenes.

– The option to do this full time is suddenly open. It throws a wrench in my careful plan. This terrifies me to no end.

– Finding friends is a matter of who you talk to. ****

– My love for gay men (and the women who love them) is undying.

– I think I’m finally home.

 

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s where my brain is at the moment. I’ll go into detail on a lot of these later, but for now … yay!

 

* Thanks in large part to the wonderful Nicole. I owe that lady many, many drinks.

** We’ve been rehearsing for nearly a month, and we STILL have women doing the bare minimum. And freaking out when they’re asked to do the scene barefoot. Not wanting to touch the men. Giggling their way through exercises. Not bothering to listen to the director. Marking the dance instead of throwing themselves into the movement. Having a problem with being wet on stage. REALLY having a problem that the costume designer is putting us in light clothing  … dear God, what will that MEAN when it’s wet? We’ll be covered, right?! ::headdesk::

I really, really wish I was exaggerating … but this isn’t even half of it.

*** We’ll get into this in depth later, but suffice to say, he’s not thrilled with the idea of me playing a romantic part.

**** My standard “I moved here not knowing anyone and work in an office of 4. I usually met people through school and theater and those weren’t happening for me, here.” usually falls on deaf ears … or at most earns a look of sympathy. THESE people, though? It prompted hugs, and “I KNOW, it was like that for me, too!”, and “You’re here with us now, it’ll be ok, we’ll fix it.” God, I love people like that.

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January 26, 2012

Sisterhood – The Dress!

First off … you HAVE seen Jenn’s Grad post and Sisterhood post over on APW right? And her lovely blog about her partner, Brandon? If not, go do it. I’ll wait.

Amazing, right?

 

So now let’s talk details.

Jenn touched on it a bit, but the process of transforming this gown from “Rachel’s Dress” to “Jenn’s Dress” had many, many steps.  A few weeks after the handoff (where I’d offhandedly offered to alter it … and then freaked out about Jenn accepting), Jenn asked me to come over and see her try it on. She wanted me to gauge how much work I’d need to do to make it fit. Oh, and she had a couple ideas of ways to change it.

I still maintain that she looked gorgeous in the dress from day 1 … but we all know how important it is to FEEL gorgeous, too. So, holding my breath, I started opening the hem to see what we had to work with. Whoever’d done Rachel’s alterations … BLESS THEM. They’d used what I call a “theatre alteration” * (no cutting) and we had quite a bit of extra fabric in all the seams. So, that’s easy. Next it was the design.

Through some miracle, Jenn had found a ton of BEAUTIFUL ivory lace for ridiculously cheap. She’d been toying with the idea of creating a lace and ribbon sash. So we snipped off the bows and other adornments (carefully … we wanted to be able to put them back, should she change her mind), and carefully pinned the lace on. And everyone LOVED it.

From there we spent a few months going back and forth on the details of the plan … should the sash be removable? Should the ribbon be attached? Should we create a ribbon bow? What about the hem? Lace? No lace? How thick of a ruffle should it be? Should it just be flat? Should should should … designing is a tough, detailed (no pun intended) business.

 

Finally, we had a plan, and it was time to sit down and work.

The story is long and boring, so here are the details:

– Total sewing time was around 25 hours. Many movies were consumed during this time.
– The lace (all 8 yards of it) was gathered by hand, with the help of a long machine stitch. All other work was done by hand.
– I never ONCE stuck my finger during all this hand sewing. I did, however, have satin safe stain remover, just in case.
– The intensity of the gather and the length of the ruffle varied from short/loosely ruffled in the front to long/tightly ruffled in the back. Much pinning and repinning was involved. ::winks::
– The lace needed to be attached in two ways … first to the inside of the satin, and then layered with the lining. I only had to re-do one bit. I call it a win.
– The sash was basted on while Jenn (ever trusting) was wearing it. I still don’t think I stuck her. She may disagree.
– The ribbon was designed to allow for a clip adornment, should one be desired.
– 10 of the buttons needed to be removed and reattached. It was the easiest, yet most nerve-wracking bit of the entire gown.
– I finished the final bit while Jenn waited … so I was about 10 minutes over my deadline. Whoops!

 

 

All in all, I love how it turned out. And while I realize my opinion wasn’t the one that counted, I was pretty damn proud of myself. I’ve done a lot of designing and executing alterations, but never with so much riding on it. It occurred to me on the day of Jenn’s wedding that while I knew she loved how it looked on the dress form, I wasn’t there to see if she loved it just as much, once she was wearing it. And that, of course, was super, super important to me.

I’m not sure how I’ll be able to convince myself that she did (and she did, according to her post). But then again, you’re always your own worst critic. ** So, in the meantime, I’ll sate my pride by the involuntary catch of breath I get looking at the splay of lace on their overhead ceremony shots … and by the compliments Jenn received. Through that, I consider it a job well done.

Thanks, Jenn (and Rachel!) for letting me feel and play a tiny role in the big picture of the Sisterhood!

 

All photos by the amazing Jenn Link Photography. Go. Hire her. You won’t be disappointed!

 

* You NEVER cut out the extra fabric when you’re altering for theatre. Especially in school settings and lower budget productions, that costume may very well be used again … so you need to be able to let it back out for someone else. Same with hems. You have no idea how many times it’s saved my butt.

** For example … it kills me that the lace pattern didn’t match up on either side of the buttons down the back. I know it was out of my control, but GAH!

January 23, 2012

A TRIUMPH!

A triumph, I tell you!

 

That’s what I kept yelling from the kitchen last night. And that was even BEFORE tasting them.

After being inundated with Red Lobster commercials for the past month, these have been on my list to try and make. Thanks to a lovely link on Pinterest from the best, I had a recipe! Now, just to find the time…

Yesterday, the day was … icy. So we stayed in, and stayed in, and stayed in … until the prospect of yet another poorly written disaster movie (2012 anyone?) was enough to drive us both to shower and run out the door for dinner. Our destination? Cafe Rio. Is there one near you? Have you been there? If you answers are yes and no, respectively, run there. NOW. You’ll thank me.

So out the door we headed, into the ice and foggy breath … only to arrive 4 minutes after closing. 4 MINUTES. The husband pouted for the next 10. And as we contemplated what else we could eat, a little voice in the very back of my brain yelled “CHEESY BISCUITS!” So, I offered to take him to Target, and to make dinner myself.*

Target, a place that is guaranteed to cheer him up, is also a freaking drain. We went in for Bisquick, and a possible boy-cheering something or other, and left $68 later. Take note, this is NOT how we save money.

But! On the positive side, I had my chance to make the biscuits! And kids … they. were. so. easy. So easy. As in I-will-make-these-for-snacks-when-I-don’t-feel-like-cooking easy. So let’s get to it.

*** NOTE: These biscuits are soft, not flaky. That’s how I like ’em. If you’re going for flaky, sub the Bisquick for flour/baking powder/butter accordingly ***

 

You’ll need: **

2 cups Bisquick (I used original. If someone tries the gluten-free, let me know how it works!)***
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the Bisquick, cheese and garlic powder.

Add milk and stir until JUST combined.

Drop spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons? I didn’t measure) onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter, and stir in parsley and garlic salt.

After 10 minute, brush the butter/parsley/garlic mixture on the biscuits.

Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Serve hot … they’re best that way!

 

See, what’d I tell you? EASY.

One thing to mention though … these had a distinctly salty taste. Being a lover of all things cheese and salt (please see my Handi Snacks addiction), they were perfect for me. If you aren’t a fan of the sodium, sub more garlic powder for the garlic salt in the butter mixture. Problem solved.

So … what are you waiting for? GO MAKE ‘EM!

Have you cooked anything fun recently?

 

* Me cooking dinner is not an out-of-the-ordinary occurence. But for me to offer, at 8:15pm, on a Sunday, when we haven’t planned anything? He was excited, to say the least.

** This recipe is for 14ish small biscuits. I halved the recipe and it fed the two of us, along with pasta and salad.

*** DO NOT be seduced by the Bisquick “Garlic Cheese Biscuit” mix. NOT THE SAME, I tell you!

October 20, 2011

Haunted

So, let’s move on to something lighter, shall we?

We’re does everyone stand on hauntings? There was a conversation on Twitter a few days ago, but there was no real consensus.

As for me … I’m a big chicken. I HATE “haunted houses” with a passion. Just ask my friends Joel and Jamie … both have (multiple times) had the unfortunate pleasure of accompanying me through haunted houses. Both have (multiple times) emerged with little rivers of blood running down their arms, from my nails digging in. Really, it serves them right … they’re the ones that make me go.

Now, “ghost hunting” I get a kick out of. Make of that what you will. Skye and I have been known to dig around anywhere we can get to, with our cameras a-flashing.

 

She’s in San Diego, and luckily for us, Old Town San Diego has their very own haunting.

The Whaley House is first and foremost a historical museum. During business hours they do tours where the share the house’s history, and then let you free to roam about. It’s a modest (for its time) manor house … with 2 stories. It also includes courtroom, and public meeting space – complete with stage and podium.

 

But, every October, they change-up the tour. Instead of the innocuous historical facts, they start telling  you the tales of the reported hauntings. Of the little dog kids tend to see running around, the small child in a pinafore, the woman’s face that appears on a wall and of Yankee Jim … a man executed on the property who was just flat-out too tall for the gallows and slowly strangled, instead of breaking his neck.

Lovely bedtime stories, right?

 

Well, several years back, it just so happened that I was dating the docent. And with that came some perks … including being allowed in the house after business hours (while they were closing up). And over the course of many visits, we had some fun.

Now, I will be the first to admit that most reports of hauntings are people’s imaginations running away with them. In this house, in particular, each room is sealed off with plexiglass. 99% of the time people claiming to have a photo with a figure in the room actually have a photo of their reflection in the plexiglass.

That being said … let’s share some stories:

** It should be known, most experiences we’ve had in the house are common ones. Having never seen the Halloween tour, neither of us were aware of anything specific having been reported previously. Imagine our surprise when the response to our report was “Oh yah, that happens all the time.” **

 

1. Let’s start vaguely creepy, but not all out. The stairs are apparently built on the spot where Yankee Jim was hanged (before the house was built). One night, after I’d been standing on the stairs taking photos,  I had someone ask me what I’d done to my neck. I looked in a mirror, and had a thin red welt going all the way around … as if there’d been a cord around my neck. It didn’t hurt at all, I hadn’t felt it happen, and it lasted for about 2 hours.

 

Apparently, this is something that happens to several tourists each day. The workers look for it, but don’t mention it often, as it generally freaks people out. But they do keep a tally. ::winks::

 

2. Same night, while outside, waiting for the boy to grab his jacket from the office, I was wandering around, shooting the outside of the house (the creepy misty shot of the back was from that night … the mist was a low hanging cloud … being not far from the ocean, it’s ALWAYS foggy.) The house was locked, and all the lights were out. In one of the upper windows, I noticed movement … like something moving back and forth across the bottom of the window repeatedly. The longer I watched, I realized it looked like a rocking chair. So I quickly shot 3 photos.

In one photo, the window is dark … as it should be. In one photo, the window is very bright, as if a light is on just inside. And one picture looked like this:

 

I have to tell you … we blew that picture up as big as it would go. (I was using a film camera, so that’s pretty damn big.) Behind all the color, you can vaguely see the outline of the building … and the window, faintly lit. And we checked to see if it was just something with the film … nowhere else on that roll were there even similar anomalies. Or that bright of colors, for that matter.

As for what I’d seen … the boy later told me that a rocking chair had been next to the window for many years … but had recently been relocated to the other side of the room. There was only a table there, now.

 

3. This one wasn’t my experience, but I witnessed it. During normal tours, they take everyone into the meeting room and tell you about things (historical events) that happened during the time it was in use. One afternoon, the guy (a stranger) sitting next to me was taking pictures of the tour guide, up on stage. At one point he started to review them, and yelped. Most of his photos were of the tour guide, podium, and 3 chairs. But one photo (in the middle of others) was of four chairs, a different podium (in a different place on stage) and no tour guide. The poor tourist was shaking. I was super intrigued.

 

4. This one was creepy. You’re forwarned.

The night the photo of Skye (all the way up top) was taken we’d been out at dinner in Old Town. Knowing they’d be closing up as we were finishing, we went in to say hi and see if we could poke around. That day they’d unveiled the restoration of the kitchen … back to the original from the time the house was built. Previously it had been preserved as it was left, still old, but not original. As we were about to leave, we decided to take one last swing through the kitchen (the lights were now off). As Skye stepped inside after me, she started hyperventilating and just generally freaking out. So we left, and went to the courtroom (still lit) to sit down and make sure she was ok. She said she had been hit with a wave of severe anxiety and confusion. (Not typical for her.) But, being Skye, she wanted to go back. So we did. She barely got in the door before collapsing to the floor sobbing. (ALSO not typical.) I dragged her out into the hallway and then ran back to snap a couple of photos … to see if I could catch anything.

 

So, some things to be noted about this photo. It was one of 5 or 6 I shot … the 3rd or 4th in, I believe. The only source of light in that area of the house was my flash. There was no light behind me. NOTHING that could cast a shadow. And again, it only showed up in one of the photos (notice a trend?) … the rest were completely normal.

The thing that creeps me out the most about this photo are the little things. Like the fact that in the middle of the darkness you see my flash reflecting off the stovepipe, and the wall paper. And that while there is a sharp edge on the left side of the shadow, the right side curves around a bit.

We’ve tried over and over again to try to recreate this photo, with no luck. The only thing that comes even close was by having me crouch down, and have a piece of cardboard blocking the entrance … the shadow was about right, then, but you also couldn’t see the whole room, as I was too low to shoot over the cardboard. That night there had been nothing between me and the room … at least nothing that could be seen. Someone mentioned (about a year later) that it looked like a door was being shut in my face. Any other opinions?

Skye later said that when she started crying she’d been flooded with overwhelming sorrow and a sense of “Why did you do this?” She speculates this all had to do with the renovation of the kitchen … but who knows.

 

5. So now that everyone’s thoroughly creeped out, I’ll end with a less-intense story. One afternoon, about a month after the night in number 4, I stopped by to take the boy to lunch. He was in the middle of a tour, so I wandered around waiting. Upstairs was a mother with several small children who were running around. I stopped to talk to her, and felt one of the kids tug on my long skirt. Looking down, I saw that one of the little girls was smiling at me. She took my hand, and started to swing it back and forth … as small children tend to do. I went back to talking to the mother, and the little one kept swinging my hand.

After about a minute of this I looked down to smile at her … and there was no little girl. But I could still feel the little hand, and my arm was still swinging back and forth. I looked at the woman I was talking to in shock, and felt the little hand give mine a squeeze and slip away. Sounds terrifying, but really, all I felt was fascination.

A couple of days later, the boy showed me a picture the workers had taken at closing, the same day I’d been there. (Before cleaning any of the plexiglassed rooms they take pictures, to make sure everything is put back in the same spots.) In the nursery there is a cradle holding a baby doll. In the photo, there was a little girl peeking over the edge of the cradle, smiling at doll.

It was the little girl I’d seen, and played with.

Of course, I told the boy what’d happened to me (for some reason I hadn’t when it happened … go figure). He told me that visitors wearing long skirts regularly report having them tugged on … like a small child would. But to his knowledge, no one else had ever reported having the child actually touch them.

And all I could think was COOL.

 

So … those are my stories. Anyone else have any?

September 21, 2011

Jingle Jingle Jingle

So, a while back on Twitter, a bunch of us started talking about a race we could all run together. I can’t remember who brought it up, but it seems to me there were 4 or 5 people interested. The Hot Chocolate 15k was suggested … but that one’s expensive, and seemed above most of our mileage abilities.

But FEAR NOT! I think I’ve found one!

 

The Jingle All The Way 8k.

It’s on December 11th, in DC. The course itself is beautiful (you run straight at the Capitol for a while) … and 8k is only 5 miles (actually, a tiny bit less) … so for those worried about the 15k distance, this should settle that.

Plus, they give you bells for your shoes. ::grins::

The husband ran this last year (it was a 10k in 2010), and said it was great. I had a blast watching the sillies that came out in full costume (Santa and his reindeer, for example) to jog on that winter morning.

Registration is $25 through the end of September and goes up from there. ($40 for race day last-minute registering!) I signed up last night.

For those out-of-towners … we have a tiny apartment, but there’s a couch and an air mattress, plus floor space if anyone needs a place to crash. We’ll make a giant  pot of pasta Saturday night. =)

Now … to find a knee-high pair of red and green striped socks. Who’s with me?