Spring Cleaning Projects

Okay, so although our weather argues otherwise, it’s time to finally start spring cleaning. I allowed myself a weekend of “not muchness” after the show ended (plus I had a battle with a cold/bug and some scary migraine incidents last week, so it took a lot to make dinner let alone consider cleaning), so ’tis time to get motivated.


See, cleaning (kinda like exercise) isn’t the hard part. It’s the motivation and mental capacity to tackle the huge projects. Heck, I don’t know the last time the whole house was really, fully clean.

I was originally going to “chunk” the projects in a more manageable weekly list (like “bedrooms this week, living room and dining room the next week, etc.”), but since I started to attack different things in different areas, that may be tough. Sometimes we throw our own plans outta whack, huh?

So, instead, it’s kind of an overlap. The only way I can see myself staying motivated and engaged with the process is by checking in with (at least) weekly lists of what I’ve already done. It may give me a better idea of what I still have to do but it might be a little pat on the back to keep going. I’m just a bit bummed because it may not be super helpful to anyone reading to give them an idea of how to attack their OWN spaces, so I think I’ll give a little “assignment” to help motivate each of you weekly. (It’s not mandatory by any means…just use it if you’re having a hard time knowing where to start.)

Sunday was the first day that I was able to undertake anything, and this is an idea of what I worked on:

– vacuumed, swept and mopped front room; wiped down walls; dusted; went through chest and purged some fabric and blankets; took some stuff (including hardly-used sewing machine) to basement
– vacuumed living room and started wiping walls; (always kept generally picked up; need to go through closet, shoes, coats, etc.)
– washes bed and crib sheets and blankets; switched to slightly lighter comforter (still have one heavy blanket to launder)
– wiped down bathroom sink, etc. (normal maintenance; still need to go gung ho here)

Lots more to do, but I won’t bore you with a list of THAT (far longer!). 

So, so you make an effort to clean anything and everything around you for spring? Or are you waiting for me to dole out my assignment for the week? Well, how sweet of you to wait for lil’ ol’ me! Here’s this week’s “duty” (hee hee…):

WALLS AND CEILINGS — Use a Swiffer, a duster, or even just a rag with mild soap to wipe down your walls and ceilings in your main living area. (If you have a “downstairs,” your downstairs. If you have only one level, as much as you can — maybe everything but your bedrooms, or more if you’re feeling adventurous.) If you have ceiling fans, wipe them down. If they’re REALLY bad, take attack them with hot water and detergent and take out the glass parts to clean in your sink. As Shirley Temple’s mother once said, “sparkle!”

(Next week, the floors and storage — closets, cupboards, etc. Just in case you want to get a head start. ;-))
And for some inspiration, your Clean Quote of the Week: “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” – Goethe

Any Idears?

Since we all know what a relatively indecisive person I am (if not, well…now you know), it’s just about time to ask you lovely folks for your opinions again. Yay! This time, it’s with regards to my lap-lap-lappytop.

Ahem. Laptop.

My current model is a Dell Inspiron 1520 that’s over 5 years old. (Um, yep. It’s time.) The caps lock is missing and there’s a big ol’ line down the middle of the screen (video card issue, I assume). Clunky, kinda warmer than I’d like, as slow as a…very slow dinosaur. It’s pretty ghetto, and getting worse every time monkey spots it open.

So, I’ve finally decided that, for cost sake, I won’t be getting a Mac; it’s just not worth it to me right now when we’ve got other things we’re saving for — like a non-scratching post armchair for Mama to nest in every night. 😉 At least I’ve got ONE decision down.

Here are my wishes, oh fairy godmother:

– A good amount of storage and speed
– A slot for a USB port (and a DVD burner, if possible, but it’s not a deal breaker)
– Under $500
– Does it HAFTA have Windows 8??? Windows XP is and always will be my BFF.
– A good size screen (~13″ or more-ish) that’s not TOO heavy
– Photo editing (I love my PicMonkey, but I’m not sure I can live without my Photoshop and Publisher…but maybe I can be persuaded) — so I don’t think any Chromebooks would be viable. Right? (No, really, I’m asking. I’m no expert.) I’ve been searching around and know there are some Chrome apps that might replace this…but I’m apprehensive. I guess this could be another non-deal breaker but it reminds me of the time my husband opted for the pared down version of his car (meaning no car starter and no cruise control…wait, what? Yes. Cruise control. That’s just not safe NOT to have).

Anyhoo. Too unrealistic? I’m not a slave to brand names, necessarily, but a good review is kind of a must. And your opinions would help greatly, too!

A few that I’m stalking ogling researching…

Contestant #1, c’mon down!!! Toshiba Satellite (we’ll leave out the numbers ‘n stuff for anonymity) is a super-cheap date at around $400. While Toshy’s got some of our basic “turn ons” — such as two USB 2.0 ports (do I NEED a 3.0??), a 15.6″ screen without super heft, a DVD drive, good battery power — it’s got 3 GB of ram vs. competitor’s 4 and may be a bit sluggish. Ultimately, she’s what we call okay to look at, but not sure how much substance is lurking beneath. Is she shallow and ditzy? Is she witty and fun, worth taking a deeper look at? No idea! But, isn’t that half the fun of looking?

Toshy the Toshiba Satellite
All images from PCMag.com

Contestant #s 2 and 3 are twins who hale from sunny California (not really, I made that up). Let’s double our pleasure with Acer Aspire #1 and Acer Aspire #2!!! Our first twin is the less expensive of the two (at around $350, although I’m not a Walmart fan, so this may shift if we go with it) and comes with great ratings — an editor’s pick, actually. It’s got a 15.6″ screen with 4 GB of memory, and they have generally great (although sometimes backhanded) compliments for the machine, considering its price. It’s also lacking in a DVD drive (necessary? Probably not) and USB 3.0 (ditto), and I’m not sure if it can handle my kazillion-tabs-open-at-a-time habit. Maybe! It’s not like I’m a gamer.

Acer #1


For Acer #2, coming in at just around $500, seems to have the positive bells and whistles of her sister (along with an awesome review for the price), but with added awesomeness such as a DVD burner, a lighter weight (for the same size sceen), a USB 3.0, and greater storage. Hmm. Certainly enough to put us in a pickle, huh?

Acer #2

Just for fun, let’s meet a newbie in the bunch who’s known for her value (read: cheapness) with a “space, the final frontier” unknown quality about her — we have the Samsung Chromebook ($250). This one’s a challenge to compare since it doesn’t have a traditional operating system and calls for the Internet to get much of anything done, so there’d be a large learning curve, but for that price and adorable package, it needs to be considered.

Samsung Chromebook
Va va voom…
…yet so strange.

Wild card time!!! Since our guest (um, I) will be making QUITE the commitment at the end of today’s Dating Game, we’re going to throw a couple of “nicer options” out on the table just to see if anyone has experience with them or enjoys the brands.

‘Cuz it’s my game and I said so, that’s why. 😉

Here’s the infamously sexy HP (I almost came up with a horrific Dating Game name for that one…) Pavilion. There’s something to be said for looks, considering how much time you spend staring at your computer in a given day. (And let’s just say I’m sick of the view currently.) From an aluminum chassis to the ports to the storage…simply put, this has it all. The only thing I’m iffy on (and this is the thing that has me considering a higher price of $650 in the first place) is that its metal look has a navy blue hint to it. Very unique. And, of course, my current laptop is navy blue…and I’ve generally hated that it wasn’t silver (or black, if it has to be). I might be able to rationalize to myself that it’s become a wicked awesome neutral lately and be done with it.

HP Pavilion
You sexy thing
(You sexy thing you)
The last wildcard in our game is Sony Vaio. I’m 50/50 about this brand name, so if anyone has some super wonderful things to say, speak up or forever hold your peace. The fact that PC Mag can’t rave enough about it (even saying that they had to keep double-checking the price, $629.99, considering all that you get out of the machine) speaks volumes…but I’m still not sold.

Sony Vaio
Really?
Maybe…?
As Monty Hall once said…”Let’s pick Meg a computer!!!” (Clearly never said that.) And I’d love to hear what your favorite brands are in the comments. What do you swear by? Anything I’ve mentioned, or should I check out something I haven’t mentioned? Thanks so much for your help, guys!!!

Which laptop do you choose?
Toshiba Satellite
Acer Aspire #1
Acer Aspire #2
Samsung Chromebook
HP Pavillion
Sony Vaio
  
pollcode.com free polls 

Wordless Wednesday – That IS My Bag, Baby

Quick Wordless Wednesday. (And by far less wordy than usual — promise!)

Here’s the bag I’ve been using lately. I love it, but I need one to fit stuff like a) lunch, b) flats (I take them to work and wear boots since, y’know, it’s still cold out), c) did I mention lunch?, d) my big ol’ reusable water bottle, and e) various sundries that a mama always has to have in her bag.

Kinda not very big. Great for pre-baby days. Sucky now. Soooo…I went to Target and got a more “casual” everyday bag….

It’s neutral (gray). It’s utilitarian. It’s the PERFECT size. Yet, still modern enough for me not to feel like it’s an outdated shleppy thing. I was hoping to get a cute patterned one, but this was the best I could find. I love it, regardless. 😉 Mom Bags, FTW!

That’s it for Wordless Wednesday this week. See? Quick and painless! Still harboring a bug/cold (how sweet of it to want to stick around), but hopefully it’ll give way and I can start in on last Monday’s list. 🙂

Springing Back to Life

The show is officially done, after some wonderful audiences and far too much fun had on the part of the cast. And, of course, during the day last Saturday I started with the postnasal yuckiness, so by this point I’m part sad and part relieved that things have come to an end. I’m going to miss my buds (and even a new friend or two! Hooray for getting out of the house!), but I’m ready to get back to some normalcy.

While my head feels like it wants to fall off and my brain is having a tough time formulating, um, y’know, words, I thought I’d mention a few things that I’m jonesin’ to get into that I’ve put off over the duration of the show. Time has a tendency to stand still and life gets put on hold while a person does a show. Not complainin’; just how it is.

So, yeah. When I finally get some rest and feel normal again, I’m hoping to turn my focus to SPRING (said in a sing-song fairy voice) and tick a few things off this ol’ list:

Spring cleaning. Ugh. I’m far from excited to get this done. I’m actually not sure the last time I actually COMPLETED a spring cleaning checklist. I get enough of it done, but not EVERYTHING. This year, since we’ve been chatting back and forth about making a possible move this spring/summer-ish, I’ve gotta find a way to actually get this fully accomplished. Even if I have to take it a week at a time, it’ll get done — and I’ll bring you along for the ride, of course. You lucky, lucky folks, you.

Spring-ify the joint. Kind of in line with spring cleaning, I’ve gotta turn my attention to the fact that I’ve still got winter-on-the-brain; at least, as far as my decor goes. We’ve still had FREEZING temperatures and snow, so the fact that we’ve got *gasp* temps in the 40s later in the week makes everyone excited even more for spring.

So, I’ll officially wipe off my “Let It Snow” chalkboard art (maybe I’m the jinx who has made winter stay put all along…oops) and take down my rustic winter scarf decor (a variation of which I’ve had since Christmas) and figure out a brighter, lighter, and probably simplified decor scheme. For my husband’s sake, if for no other reason. 😉 Heck, I finally pulled down the Christmas cards last week, but I don’t think he was impressed.

(Pssst. You know what that means. I’m gonna be wasting more time on Pinterest soon!!)

Start a-paintin’. I think we’ve pretty much finalized the color we’re going to do the dining room (wait for it…), so I’d like to hit up Lowe’s and grab a buttload of primer to get the show on the road in there. I also need to freshen up our kitchen cabinets, inside and out, with our usual white trim paint…which opens up Pandora’s box since there’s probably a thousand other places that need a little touch-up while I’m at it. 

Hoeing out. Along with spring cleaning comes the inevitable urge to get rid of stuff. While I tend not to “spring clean” the basement, I’d like to take a stab at ours as far as organization and what we actually NEED to have down there is concerned. I may end up hosting a spring/early summer garage sale to help with the excess.

So, what about you? What are your spring plans? Are you already done with your spring cleaning, or is it not a part of your vocabulary? It’s hard for me not to get bogged down with the guilt of cleaning every square inch of your dwelling this time of year; my mom raised me with insanely high standards. 🙂 Love ya, Ma!

Let’s Get Physical, Physical


It’s our last weekend for “Don’t Talk to the Actors,” folks! If you’re in the area and in the mood for some PG-13ish entertainment in a quaint historical setting, hit us up at 8 tonight…or 8 tomorrow night…or 2 on Sunday. Please and thanks! You won’t regret it, and neither will I!!

Yeah, no. I can’t do this.
It pains me to look.

Okay, on with the main event. (Thought y’all could use a non-theater post for one day. Happy Friday to YOU!)

I’ve mentioned a few times lately the fact that I’m going to physical therapy. Long story short, it seems that I had some extra wear-and-tear on my knees while pregnant (um, baby was big) and I did a lot more than I probably should have. When you have pregnancy pains, you tend to assume they’re just that — pregnancy pains — rather than an actual “thing.” I also didn’t adjust properly to walking/moving “normally” post-pregnancy.

So, I’ve got a couple of Baker’s cysts, which are just minute tears ([not min-it teers, but my-noot tares] in this case, on the back of both of my knees — nothing you can SEE, but you could feel them if you crawled into my achy body) that fill with the fluid that’s supposed to help my knee caps do their thang. There are a couple of other issues, but that’s generally the idea of the thing. I’ve been sore, and at times it’s been super difficult to move or squat, let alone shelve books at work.

The ultimate goal is to build up my thighs to support my knees better, as well as build up the strength again in my knees. Just call me “Thunder Thighs!!!” Not sure if those tears will ever heal on their own, but it’d be nice.

I’m going to a local place, Fitness Forum, which has been good for the most part. However, my biggest challenges are the facts that —

a) I just had a different doctor last week (filling in for my usual physical therapist) who gave me a completely different regiment of exercises,

b) I’m awkward as heck in “gym” situations, so I always feel like I’m doing it wrong (or just when I think I’m doing it right, the p/t tells me I’m not…embarrassing), and

c) I’ve had a very hard time finding the TIME to do my home exercises — the biggest challenge.

I’m trying to stay positive, but I’ve never been a super active person. Maybe that’s one reason my legs are so “surprisingly” tight for a “girl my age.” (Love that. Not.)

In high school, I played tennis and enjoyed it greatly (and attempted short stints with basketball and volleyball — not so great). Oh, and as a senior, I tried bowling, but that was a way to connect with my dad’s hobby and I wasn’t even close to good. I disliked gym; I was a music-English-history girl. Heck, I would’ve stayed with volleyball if my JV coach hadn’t been borderline abusive (verbally and physically pushing me to the point of throwing up every day; not the whole team) about not belonging there — she had gone to school with my siblings, who were band geeks like myself.

See? A bit of emotional soreness over athletics. Blah.

But, this is something else. This is to allow me to do my work again the way it needs to be done. This is to allow me to crawl around with my son and change his diaper and play with him without groaning in pain every time. This is to give me my energy and feeling of normalcy back.

It’ll be worth it, I know. I just have to jump some mental hurdles first — my own issues. Here’s how I hope to handle them:

a) Check in with my regular physical therapist to ensure that I’m doing the proper exercises…’cuz, yeah, they’re 100% different than what I was doing. (I have since done this, and while I have a million exercises, I’m adapting them to my needs. ie Not doing them all everyday.)

b) Get the heck over it. There are a TON of high school athletes around me doing exercises (and knowing full well how to do them) and a BUTTLOAD of older folks (dressed in Dockers and belts…? Here I was worried about my ratty sweatpants on the first day. I HAVE amended this situation that I blend in well enough, thanks to new sweats and new sneakers.), so I’m a rare creature. As with most things in life, I’ll just do my best and listen to what they tell me to do and deal with it. After all, it’s not forever. Just like gym class.

c) Um, yeah. This part sucks. I’m supposed to do them 2 times a day (they had mentioned 2-3, but we all know that ain’t happenin’). It seems that every time I go, the amount of exercises double — either in duration or just by changing what I’m doing — so it’s been confusing to LEARN the exercises as well as dig out the time to do them. (An assistant there that I LOVE has recently told me that once a day, especially with the busy life I’ve got goin’ on, is just fine. I love her.) SO, my attempt at a strategy here is to do them in the bedroom, when possible.

Wait, what? Yes, in the bedroom. If I get up early (5:30, people!!!! NO!), turn on the news, and do them while I don’t have any distractions (ahem, baby crawling on my stomach thinking it’s hysterical to sit on Mommy’s belly while she’s doing bridges, and, ahem, husband who doesn’t realize how much focus a grown woman needs to count to 20), I think I’m more apt to do them. Er, at least most of them. There are a couple of the exercises I’ve cut out on my own (probably breaking a cardinal rule, but…) because they’re painful. Like, direct knee contact that seems to be causing more issues than doing good type of stuff. (Don’t worry; I talk to my PT about it and we figure stuff out.)

Oh, and the same thing goes for the evenings (when I’m not into doing the 5:30 thing). When it’s time to chill out for the night, it seems that having one “zone” to do these exercises is half the battle. Plus, Dave zones out with his graphic novels (he is the Dorky Daddy, after all) and we can throw on The Big Bang Theory (or whatever, I’m not choosy…man, we are dorky) and I get the job done.

*sigh* I’ll get through it. And, y’know what? When I do, I hope to be pain-free enough to sign back up for some weekly yoga. Plus, when spring *finally* arrives (we have snow in the forecast…as long as that’s sitting on the 7-day outlook, it ain’t spring), we’ll be able to do family walking after work on a few days thanks to the hubby’s “new and improved” schedule.

See? Always a silver lining. 😉

Wordless Wednesday – Wardrobe

I told you I’d be back soon with my wardrobe update, and what better day than Wordless Wednesday to share it?

We had a quick read-through of the play last night, so we weren’t in wardrobe. Sorry these are lacking a model, but I’d look pretty weird taking selfies in the dressing room. Maybe. A tad.

 
Costume #1 is the above pants (LOVE these; they’re my own) and turquoise top. It’s worn for pretty much half of the show, along with metallic flats and a turquoise droop necklace. Costume #3 is the same pants and purple-magenta top (hard to tell in the picture, but take my word for it) with the same metallic flats.

To break up the two “same pants” days (it’s actually several days later), I’ve got a black blouse with a long attached tie, gray skirt (which I’ve used for numerous costumes over the years), and black flats.

So, whatchya think?

Mixed Bag Monday

You know how you have so much that you want to tell a friend during a phone conversation that you’re thinking, “Well, that looks like a bipolar mix of topics if ever there was one.” Well, yeah. That’s my post today.

“Acting out” this weekend was awesome. While our opening night was lackluster (we later realized that the audience wasn’t great, which tends to batter already-sensitive actor egos), our Saturday and Sunday performances were stellar, hilarious, and incredibly fun. That high that can only be brought by appreciative audiences was better than I remember.

A side note of annoyance (to any of you who may be live audience members at any point in the future, please take note) occurred during yesterday’s performance. It was clear that, although it was a Sunday audience (historically known as consisting of the elderly and more religious types), they were thoroughly enjoying the show, bawdiness and all. We began our second act and they seemed to still be on the chatty side (like trying to teach kids right after they come in from recess), so while my “fiance” started his lines (in which he’s questioning himself, and me, about how his show’s first read-through went), a gentleman in the audience STARTED ANSWERING.

We heard him as clear as day. He wasn’t ignorant (well…) nor hard-of-hearing nor any other excuse I could fathom. He was just a wiseass. He even loudly replied to whomever sat near him, “I know, I’m bad. I cause trouble.” (Something like that; I was too busy trying not to glare into the audience.) Needless to say, he made it incredibly difficult to focus and my fellow actor got flustered trying to remember his line. (He didn’t appear that way to the audience and I thought he did a smashing job of not letting it get to him, but we were both PISSED in that moment.)

The fact that the show is called “Don’t Talk to the Actors” just added to the ridiculousness.

Similarly, we had someone’s cell phone go off THREE TIMES — and they didn’t turn it off or do anything. Just kept ringing one of those obnoxious songs. Our “stage manager” told people to turn them off, especially since we have cell phone rings (and even the sound of a vibrating phone) as part of the show, but apparently the request didn’t stick.

It didn’t sour the whole show, but such mistakes are just reprehensible to me. Why do folks feel they’re above rules and general common courtesy? So many people ask us how we remember so many lines, and I now think to myself, “If you knew how much work went into it, and were up there trying to remember them yourself, would you keep your yapping to yourself and turn off your phone??”

Of course, this wasn’t the majority of the audience, and we were ultimately SO grateful just to have an audience who enjoyed spending their time with us! 

Anyhoo, needless to say, I’m hoping for three more great audiences, and am bittersweet about it all ending…especially since I’m mentally planning on starting my spring cleaning when the end comes. Blech.

Still need to get a picture or two of the costumes I selected. I’d also like to grab one or two of “behind the scenes” stuff. We’ll see if I can remember. *wink, wink*

NEXT TOPIC!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m one of those super-proud (mostly) Irish folks that don’t full-on celebrate the day. Like, I don’t drink green beer (or any, really, for that matter…not just to celebrate the day), I don’t hit up the parade (Dave’s not a fan of the rowdiness; can’t blame him), and I don’t go to church to thank St. Patrick for being crazy enough to want to return to Ireland after being enslaved there for years, all for his passion of spreading his religion.

But, I’m wearing green, and I take plenty of time to appreciate my ancestry.

And, apparently, I depress children.

Yep, call me the “let’s learn about Ireland and St. Patrick!!!” Debbie Downer.

See, I decided to use the chance to show my fourth graders some of the databases we purchase, so I looked up “Irish” (on a couple of sites so they can see the difference), and man was I a tad too informative.

They learned about St. Patrick, and since they’ve been learning a lot about African-American history, I used it as a teachable moment to show that Africans weren’t the only slaves (and still aren’t). Okay, not TOO bad.

Then, we searched about the Irish Potato Famine. Oops. I had read it in advance, but the more I talked about it, the more I realized that I was probably…um…yeah. It wasn’t anything horrific, but it was far from the usual “they’re after me lucky charms” leprechaun festivities of a regular St. Patrick’s Day. “See the historical etching of this family? The father who’s crying? The mother holding her baby, with several kids laying around? Yeah, they’re gonna die.” Wop wop.

Maybe we should’ve just researched Irish music…?

So, that’s where I am today. How ’bout you?

Acting Out – Tonight!

Taken by Dave Dellecese
ilionlittletheatre.com

(Place actually looks a bit different now.)

The time has come. Opening night. I haven’t had an opening night in over two years. We only had about 6 1/2 weeks to put this one together (the average is 8 weeks; just 1 1/2 weeks doesn’t sound like a big deal, but considering how quickly a show needs to come together on only 2-3 rehearsals a week…um, yeah, it is). For the most part, it looks as if we had over 8 weeks. Yep, lookin’ good! (jinx!)

I’m stupid crazy excited. Yes, stupid crazy. I’m surprised I’m actually coherent with my students today ‘cuz my brain is wackadoo.

Yet, I’m trying to reign myself in. Actors (and Irish, incidentally) are by nature a superstitious lot. So, just for fun (and since St. Patrick’s Day is on Monday, and I’m both Irish AND an actor), I thought I’d share a handful of the superstitions I’ve heard of and found more about when it comes to theatre. (Read: thee-AY-tre…ahem…just kidding)

Don’t say “good luck.” — Don’t you dare! It’s bad luck to say “good luck” and it must be “cancelled out” by either cursing or having the cast wish one another “bad luck.” The term “break a leg” is acceptable, although there are several possible reasons for its etymology. (Please don’t tell my students I’m citing Wikipedia. Mkay? Thanks.)

Similarly, no flowers until after your first performance. You haven’t even performed yet. How do you know if you’ll succeed? You don’t. It’s a jinx to accept (or be given) flowers before you tread the boards. It’s kind of like how I can’t get overly calm or “we got this, yo” because I’ve already jinxed myself. Nothing is definite, not until after our final performance. There’s always a new line that decides to jump your thought processes. Don’t. Get. Over-confident.

Ghosts haunt theaters and need one night alone on the stage. This superstition harkens back to the ghost of Thespis of Athens (6th century B.C.), although every theater supposedly has its own ghost. (Ours, we call George, although there is talk that there has been a female sighting in our attic from outside. I’ve seen and experienced George’s presence and sense of humor, so I know this one to be true. No foolin’.) I have just recently heard of the “one night alone” theory, but we try to have one dark night before starting the show’s run to rest up and be with our families before the “craziness starts.”

Ghost light. Linked to the previous thought, a ghost light (sometimes placed downstage, center) is put in place to keep the spirits at bay. However, out of practicality, this one makes a lot of sense. Ours is actually backstage near our electric box switches, which makes it easier when you’re entering a creepy, dark theater to see your way to the switches.

No whistling allowed. Okay, I just learned about this one quite recently from a fellow actor, although I’ve also read a different reason for it. As told, whistling (pre-walkie talkies) was a way to cue folks who were working above the scenery to a change. Allegedly, if someone was carelessly whistling, they were at greater risk of being nailed on the head with a sandbag. Alternately, I’ve read that it would miscue someone, leading to someone possibly losing their job. Either way, I get the evil eye when I thoughtlessly whistle…then Dick turns around three times, spits and swears. You can’t make this $%&# up.

Don’t say “MacBeth.” There are many reasons not to say the name of this play, as well as ways to amend your problem if you do. So, just don’t. 😉

Blue not allowed, unless accompanied by silver. Oops! I didn’t know this one until just now! Blue dye was such a valuable commodity that it could lead to the theater’s misfortune if it was worn onstage. The only saving grace would be to wear silver along with it to show your audience that you do, indeed, have a reliable backer (who could afford to furnish the blue dyed clothes AND silver). I, along with my “fiance” Jerry, are wearing a beautiful turquoise. Luckily, I’m wearing my silver engagement ring (yes, I take off my wedding ring when necessary, and hide it from George)…maybe I should suggest he wear something silver, too. Gah!

Side note: Green (blending with the outdoors when actors once put shows on outside; also corpse-like) and yellow (the color always worn by an actor playing the devil) are also bad luck. Jeez. What CAN’T we wear??

Bad dress rehearsal, good opening night. SOOOO many reasons this is used (scare the cast straight? Make them feel better if it’s a rough go?) Either way, it has made me feel better plenty of times. Our dress rehearsal went well, although there were areas that we could fix (I’m beating myself up over one line lapse that lasted a couple of seconds…but felt like 10), so I feel that’s enough to get us through. RIGHT???

If you find these interesting, check out the miscellaneous extras here. Neat stuff!

Oh, and for the curiosity-minded of you, I’m going to try to take a picture or two of my costumes this weekend to share what “style” I ended up going with. Or you could just come see the show and see for yourself. Either/or. 😉 (I know, quite impossible for most of you, but still…it’s a nice thought!)

For now, I’ll be getting to the theater early to do my hair/makeup and look over lines (hopefully “quietly”) before we begin. Can’t be too safe! DON’T wish me luck!! 😉

(Wordy) Wordless Wednesday – Chalk It Up

I know, I know. Wordless Wednesdays should be just that — wordless. But, I suck at not writing/talking. It’s just…”how I do.”

So, given how involved with the show I’ve been lately, I thought it would be cool to share this picture that I snapped quickly before the writing got erased…

Boring, right? Just a homemade chalkboard with scribbling sitting on the stage floor.

But, there’s more to it than that.

This is a set dressing (technically prop since we actually used it during the show) from “1940s Radio Hour,” which we performed a handful of years ago. As each singer in the radio show arrived for “rehearsal” (all in front of the audience, mind you), we signed in. I was first — “Connie.” Then, a sweet actress named Char (who played “Ginger”), and my sister Mary (who played “B.J.” — it was changed from a male character and worked quite well). Finally, (others didn’t sign in) we see Neal. Er, “Heel” (as I jokingly changed it to each night). In other words, Dave.

That was the show in which Mary and I got to actually interact, and joke around, and sing duets together. It was the show during which our grandmother passed away. It was the show that we were allowed to cry during the last song (“I’ll Be Seeing You” — how can you NOT cry to that?), so Mary and I wept and wept over losing her. No acting needed. 

It was the show in which I had to sing pig latin. PIG LATIN.

It was the show in which countless ’40s songs were sung. It was the show we “took on the road” to a local library and an assisted living home or two to spread the cheer around. It was the show with “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy;” one of my all-time favorites.

It was the show in which I drank about 8-10 Cokes each performance with no bathroom break until it was over.

It was the show in which Dave and I met. We were both seeing other people, and we didn’t speak a whole heck of a lot offstage (except for a silly/snide remark here or there…I’m socially awkward), but we had a blast together onstage — and since we were allowed to improv, we still got to know each other pretty well from the start.

This was an important show. And it’s beyond awesome that the chalkboard will be a part of my current show, considering it’s my first show back in a couple of years and I’m enjoying it so much (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s frickin’ HYSTERICAL).

It definitely feels like returning home again, and something as small as this makes my heart swell.

SIDE NOTE: MOHAWK VALLEY PEEPS, THE SHOW OPENS THIS WEEKEND (March 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 – Friday & Sundays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm). TICKETS ARE $12 ADULTS, $8 STUDENTS AT THE DOOR. 

Just in case, I like to mention that there’s a bit of “PG-13” (or maybe worse) language. No “F” words, but yeah…it’s not for kids. 😉

When Things Get Tough, Make a List

freedigitalphotos.net
(This isn’t our kitchen…)

With nearly every weeknight being taken over by theater rehearsals (not that I’m complaining! It’s been a blast) and twice weekly physical therapy sessions (okay, that I kind of AM complaining about), it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Super duper stressed. It’s nice to have something fun to focus on, but the rest of this crazy life can get pretty nuts.

But, I’ve done pretty well. How? By chunking. Then listing.

Chunking means a million things (one of which involves child literacy, but that’s not what I’m talkin’ about here). In this case, I just use it as a coping mechanism; a way to handle things in smaller amounts. One day at a time. One meal at a time.

Since the things I look forward to most are at the end of the day (ie rehearsal and seeing Hadley and Dave at the end of it all), I look at each day in sections: morning, work, dinner/physical therapy/shower (those are one thing because they happen quickly in the span of about an hour +/- post-work), then “fun.” (Yes, sometimes the “fun” part is stressful, but it’s the almost-guaranteed positive in my day.)

Sure, sometimes there are positives in the rest of the day. Like, the morning rush almost always gives way to my daily phone chat with my mom. That’s generally a happy, high point of the day, done while eating breakfast or folding laundry or what not. If I can fit little tasks like this in while getting other stuff done, I feel a) more productive, b) less overwhelmed later on (no one likes that “I’ve got NO clean underwear!?!?” feeling), and c) happier (see “a”; laziness makes one beat oneself up, whereas productivity gives a boost of adrenaline…it’s a thing).

And, most days I can find SOME bit of happiness in the “work” side of things. Despite being a librarian, I despise putting books away. (My stack of books can attribute to that.) But if I chunk it into sections — putting away chapter books on one day, or half of the “easy” books, or all of the pet and sport books, it’s more manageable, even with a constantly full schedule. Plus, there’s almost always a happy moment with the kids that makes the rest of the stress easier to take. Even just being in a good mood and laughing along with them (ie not letting their annoying habits break me down…and remembering they’re only kids) helps.

As for P/T…well, that’s a post for another day, but let’s just call it a necessary evil. I go. I do. I feel awkward. I then become frustrated realizing that the exercises I have to do at home just doubled and I’ll be getting up at frickin’ 5:30 to get fit them in. I get grouchy. Then I move on. It’s a cycle, and I’m used to it now. (Well, not the getting up early thing. It’s not in my blood. I was meant to be my grandmother — Grandpa got coffee and breakfast ready for HER.)

When I don’t have P/T, I run around getting a “nicer” dinner ready and grabbing a shower (I shower at night out of convenience and time constraints…don’t say “ew”). The time still flies, and I find myself running out the door to rehearsal.

*SKREEEEECH* (Not the dude from “Saved by the Bell”; let’s not go there.) This is where my listing comes in.

I’m not great at to-do lists. Sometimes, it’s a must. Like anytime I go shopping for example. Groceries or otherwise, I will inevitably forget something if I don’t make a DETAILED list. Like…if I don’t put down the COLOR of the shoes I was going to get, I will immediately walk into Target and go into a Target-coma; must look at EVERYTHING in the store. Inevitably walk out without the shoes I came for. Beat myself up later. (Same works with food of all sorts. Or toilet paper. Hate that.)

However, making a list of the food I have in the house or, better yet, the meal possibilities (some savvy bloggers refer to them as “meal plans”, but I’m hardly a “planner”…so, I guess it’s a “meal list”) on my fridge’s white board helps in this regard.

Of course, the first week I dared use this method (the craziest week yet…until this week, during which the show opens), things got thrown around…but, it was still nice to have the list and use a couple of the “suggested” dinners. Like, Dave and the munchkin stayed with his parents for dinner a couple of nights. Still fine since I could make the omelet I had listed as a possibility. And, saving grace, I had chicken in the slow cooker the night of my incredibly longer-than-usual P/T session last Thursday — which meant I had time to scarf down half of my dinner before heading to the theater vs. not having ANYTHING to eat. Wasn’t great, but was better than takeout (which…ahem…we don’t really do these days).

So, what about your house? How do you handle the stress when you know it’s gonna be a week from Hades? And are you a lister? What kind do you make? Are you like my mom — whom we buy blank paper pads in bulk for, she makes so many lists?