Uff da!

Joseph FinaleWell color me impressed, I survived my first musical! Between working in the day and singing at night, I am beyond wiped. However I can honestly say I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy performing. Sure I took a couple semesters of acting in college, but then we only performed in class. Which believe me, I’m not knocking, but there is something a bit different about performing in front of a crowd and such.

A rare shot of me with my 'husband'

A rare shot of me with my ‘husband’

The town festival was once again a big success. After a week of prepping at work (we do a lot of printing for the various parade floats and activities that happen during the weekend) it arrived. Going off with pretty much no hitches (there was some rain late Saturday, but even that can’t dampen our Scandinavian Spirit). Much of my time was occupied with either sleeping, work or performing. I nearly forgot that my sister’s family was down for the weekend. Usually when they come down I put everything aside so I can hang out with them, this time I only spent a few hours with them. Pretty remarkable considering they were here for three days.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of this production. I met so many new people and have found another niche in the community in which I seem to fit rather naturally. (If that isn’t the case, please, some cast member let me know.)

Smiles all around, even off-stage

Smiles all around, even off-stage

One of the directors had stopped me once and commented how happy I looked on stage, and I have to admit I had the time of my life. However when you have a team of people that are all so obviously loving what they are doing, it’s easy to be in the moment. I can hardly wait for next year when the troupe will be performing Disney’s Tarzan. Hopefully I’ll be able to help in someway with that production too. (Not entirely sure I can make the casting cut, but time will tell). So although Joseph has worn his coat for the last time this production, my connection to it will live on in the memories and friends I have made. I am truly a fortunate and blessed person.

Until next time ~ Q

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Big doings in my online abscense

If you follow my blog you will realize that in the last couple of months there hasn’t been anything to follow. This is because I’ve been busy in the doings of the world around me.

See that person to the far left in front (shorts and stripes)? That's me, being a little joiner.

See that person to the far left in front (shorts and stripes)? That’s me, being a little joiner.

In March I auditioned for a community theater production and that has eaten much of my free time. On top of that I decided it’d be a brilliant idea to buy a house. A week later I gave my landlord notice, two weeks later I’m out of my apartment (and back with my parents who very kindly agreed to give me refuge) and two days later I’ve bought a house. Apparently once I’ve truly put my mind to something there isn’t much that will hold me back. This can be seen as both positive and negative, I am sure.

So here I am on June 4, 2013. Tomorrow is the opening day of the musical Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat (I play Dan’s wife) and in ten days I take possession of a house. I am both exhilarated and terrified. I mean this is a house. I will own something of real value and if I mess it up it will be a HUGE deal. It’s not like my apartment where if something went wrong I could call the landlord. If something goes wrong I might be able to call my parents, otherwise I really will just have to figure it out myself.

My future house!!

The realtor’s photo of my future home.

Bear with me over the next month (or two or three) because there will be many posts about the house; that is if I can maintain any sort of regular posting schedule. The basement is completely unfinished and my parents have agreed to help me finish it off pretty much as soon as I get the keys and can go in the house. So it will be lots of DIY and decorating, which falls under the purview of projects and such that I post about. I’m lucky I’ve been swamped with rehearsals over the last month or I might have gone completely mad with waiting. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’ve driven by, pulled up the drive way and even sat on the porch. This sounds creepier than it is because it’s actually vacant. So it’s not like anyone is living there to see me stalk my future residence….except my future neighbors.

Also, the town’s festival (Scandinavian Days) is this weekend (which is what the musical is for). Again I will be participating in the parade; in two floats if I can finagle it. Further updates about the festival, musical, and of course life in general to come.

41 days of Celebration: Days 23-36

Day 23: Friday, December 14: WHO Friday
I know, I know, not as good of a ring as “WHO Wednesday” but I realized I had forgotten an Christmas episode when I looked at how many there were vs how many Wednesdays there were during this season of celebration. I always forget this episode exists because it falls in that grey area of after a season but before the specials so it really is just a trick. Anyway instead of watching a movie Friday night I watched The Next Doctor episode. Only it was a lie! He wasn’t the next doctor (hence no Matt Smith) but 10’s hair was once again fabulous. Seriously, sign me up for that job.

Day 24: Saturday, December 15: War Horse/Tree Decorating
IMG_2910 Nothing says Christmas like carnage right? That’s what I found when I went to War Horse. That play is phenomenal. Who ever developed that deserves a gold star. I was shocked at how they were able to portray even a slight degree of the genuine terribleness (bad word, sorry) of war. *Spoiler* There was this scene where the horses were going into battle. There were the two main horses at the front of the stage and then a handful of others lined up next/behind them (they were standing parallel to the front of the stage charging the other side). As they are charging machine fire starts and bombs start to fly. All of a sudden you see the torso of a man fly off one of the horses. Very blunt, it put things in sharp focus and it was only a puppet. Only during intermission was my mind able to process that the back horses had never had actors on them, but it was too late. The die had been cast and the impression made. Spoiler over. Anyway, I really enjoyed the play although I don’t know if I could go through that emotional rollar coster again. It was quite tasking in that way, I cried twice, so exhausting.

IMG_2908Afterwards, once we returned home my sister and I set about decorating the Christmas tree. This was the first year we got a blue spruce (usually go with a fir of some sort) and it was fun getting something new. Although we did have to wear gloves to decorate it, the needles were pretty spiky, but the end result was quite lovely and new.

Day 25: Sunday, December 16: Cooking/Classic (Little Women)
IMG_3126It was a fabulous day of cooking, although I should have read the instructions more clearly. Then I would have known I was making five dozen sugar cookies. Ah well, the more the merrier, right? I also made Ninja bread men and bark. Two kinds of bark, one would have done, but peppermint and M&M were made and enjoyed. Later that day, after the cookies had been rolled and cooled I popped in Little Women which is always bittersweet. I enjoy the movie so much, but it is so very sad, bits of it anyway. This viewing of it was just the same in that regards.

Day 26: Monday, December 17: Mail out Christmas Cards
Christmas LettersI finally met my goal of getting my cards out on Monday!! Yes, later than I expected, but done…and before Christmas to boot. So that was a good ‘Christmas’ task done. The picture is a bit rough, decided to use the digital file for showing the inside and the lighting in my apartment is special so that’s why they don’t quite match up – color wise.

Day 27: Tuesday, December 18: Wrap family presents
PresentsLast year we tried to implement everyone wrapping with a different color, why I can’t recall. Since we all live apart that was pretty easy to do. I have been on a green kick (if the Christmas cards weren’t a clue) so I continued that onto the wrapping I did for my family. (Which worked out because only one other family member did green and she chose dark green.) I even decided to print out some special cards at work. I figured eventually my nephew will be in charge or handing out so I designed the tags to have both faces and names (since he wont really be able to read at first). Now if I can only remember where the files are next year…

Day 28: Wednesday, December 19: WHO Wednesday
Ah, one of the saddest Christmas Specials to date, A Christmas Carol. Well, both of Eleven’s are pretty sad (or make me cry at least). I really quite enjoy this one, it may be my favorite. Actually, I’m pretty sure it is, and I quite enjoy how it parallels The Christmas Carol (hence it being titled the same) but has it’s own twists (Like Amy Pond/Williams being the ghost of Christmas present). Anyway, continuing with the WHO Wednesday was the first of Matt Smith’s Christmas specials and he does it justice, of course.

Day 29: Thursday, December 20: Finish presents for my pals
IMG_3130I decided to get my gal pals gifts that could only be gotten (bad grammar I know, but not sure which other word to use, acquired?) in Story City. Oh what fun that was. I had already picked out little figurines for them but made them notepads at work to go with them as well. Finally finished the notepads and was able to wrap them too (it was a bit of a shoty job though, it’s hard to wrap hippos and pigs, and don’t get me started on eagles).

Day 30: Friday, December 21: CLEAN / photo booth props
I was hosting a holiday party so I needed to get things cleaned up. I had the food done (since I’ve been baking sweets all month) but did need to get the apartment ready. I also quickly cut out some photo props, although they pretty much went on used except one photo (below) since I had them out of sight behind the photo curtain, out of sight out of mind and unused. Brilliant Jamie, just brilliant.

Day 31: Saturday, December 22: Holiday PHoliday Propsarty
As stated above I had a party. My mom commented that she wasn’t sure where my oldest sister and I got these ideas about having Christmas party, but to me it comes to no surprise. My mom is the great instigator of bringing family together, especially around the holidays (hence we usually have 20+ grown adults at our house for a long Thanksgiving weekend. People on top of people for three days, but it’s family so you let it pass). And since friends are the family we choose why wouldn’t I want to bring them together. Okay stepping off my box now, I had a mini reunion with all of my friends (many from high school) and it was nice to be together and catch up for the evening. Shenanigans were had and memories were made, the best byproducts of any gathering, right?

Day 32: Sunday, December 23: Finish presents / ‘Cooking’ but no classic
Some how I still had last minute presents. It’s not like Christmas was a surprise or anything but I spent most of the day inefficiently finishing the design on some personalized planners for my mom and dad. Dad asked for a calendar, I did one further and decided to do a weekly calendar. Then I decided if I had all the work done it wouldn’t be that hard to then replace all the photos for my mom to have her own version. Took forever, granted I had the television on in the background which I’m sure ups my time by 50% or so..so there’s that. But it was worth it in the end because they loved them (I think, they certainly seemed to).

Bath CrayonsOh, I also realized that I had a TON of goodies. I guess I didn’t really keep count of just how many tupperwares I was filling while I’ve been baking over the last month. However that didn’t keep me out of the kitchen, oh no, I just didn’t make the Bon-bons and other miscellaneous things I was going to try. Instead I tried making home made bath crayons for my nephew. I HATE melting stuff in the microwave but it felt weird to put soap on the stove to melt so I tried it. I’m pretty sure these will crumble as soon as they hit the water but hopefully he can get one use out of them.

Day 33: Monday, December 24: Last minute wrapping / journey to my parents
I worked a half day and then headed home. It was a bit of a surprise that my eldest sister’s family wouldn’t get there until right before bed but that was no big deal, the rest of us had a mini-cribbage tournament. I did fairly well for never playing before, I got second (out of four) so that was fun. I didn’t do as well the following day in our six-person tournament. But that’s fine, I’m now a bit addicted to playing cribbage though, whoops.

Day 34: Tuesday, December 25: CHRISTMAS DAY IS FINALLY HERE!!!!
Typical Christmas:

  • Wake up semi-early (this year to a screaming/excited two year old)
  • Marathon unwrapping of presents
    (complete with the enjoyment that comes from surprising others)
  • Enjoy gifts
  • Take naps
  • Enjoy fabulous Christmas Dinner
  • Family movie (we watched Star Wars Episode 4 this year, that’s why my family is awesome)
  • Cribbage tournament

Day 35: Wednesday, December 26: WHO Wednesday
Although there was a new WHO episode premiered on Christmas Day (I believe) I didn’t watch that one, nope. I finished up with the old ones. (Not entirely sure if the new one is available in the states or not.) This week it was the The Doctor, The Widow and the Wardrobe. Par for Doctor Who it was magical, simple (yet epic), dangerous and done in time for Christmas.

Day 36: Thursday, December 27: Christmas Vacation
Compliments of my sister, I know have a handful of Holiday movies. I decided I couldn’t wait until next year and cracked open Christmas Vacation. I haven’t seen this movie in forever and it certainly made me laugh. Good grief Griswolds, nothing ever goes right.

Musical Review: Billy Elliot

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to see this production at the Des Moines Civic Center, now touring nationally. I went to the Saturday matinée where the lead role of Billy was played by Zach Manske and his amusing side-kickish friend Michael was played by Cameron Clifford. I mention the latter in particular (besides just the star) because that kid pretty much stole whatever scene he talked in.

I have a habit of seeing things without knowing what they are about (or as my Fifty Shades of Grey will attest, it’s not limited to the performing arts) and usually it works out rather well. This time was no exception (one exception could be made for August Rush…that was a major shock. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a musical that partially deals with mental illness, not too upbeat of a show). Things I learned:

  1. This place took place during Margaret Thatcher’s term as Prime Minister.
  2. One of the subplots (or happenings) is the miners strike (which actually took place – and was the nation’s longest).
  3. The play was loosely based on the life of Peter O’Brien
  4. Puff might be a synonym for pansy
  5. Giant puppets of Margaret Thatcher (a grotesque version – obviously) are creepy

I was very impressed with this kid (well teenager a suppose if you want to be technical) who had the tremendous task of carrying a production of such scale. This was a huge ensemble production, but if you don’t like the title character/main character it certainly makes things trickier, I would imagine. (I did see a performance last year where I couldn’t stand the main character’s singing voice. It made it hard to stay engaged when whenever she opened her mouth I would disconnect thinking, “Why on earth would she sing that way?”) This show, obviously, was dance heavy and it was odd when I realized some of the songs listed in the program were purely danced through, no singing. I have the habit of counting how many songs are in each act so I can judge how close we’re getting to the end. The dancing only messed me up, but I also lost count because I was just so absorbed by all the movement and such on-screen. It was also weird, for me, that the main character only had one or two solo songs. Unlike Legally Blonde, for example, which there are several. This production just was a bit different from anything I’ve seen in the past, and it makes me wonder why. Is it because it’s dance heavy? Or child actor heavy? Whatever the reason it was quite refreshing.

I should preface this next comment with that things have been making me easily cry for a while now (apparently I’m repressing something so I cry at random things) but I did get choked up when Billy was reading both the letter from and to his mother. I don’t know why, granted it was touching, but it was just kind of sad I suppose. Anyway, I liked how subtle it was, the scenes with his mom. You were able to tell him imagining her there – oh and at the end when he asked if he’d be seeing her again and she replied ‘what do you think’ and in return he said ‘i suppose not’. (Roughly, it was a few days ago – but that was the sentiment). Such a simple moment, but with such huge implications. Like he’s off on his way to grow up and can’t continue to have day dreams about his mother despite the fact he’ll carry her with him. Just very well done.

Now a quick praise of the character Michael. I loved him, and the kid that played him was AMAZING! The first big scene with this kid has Billy going over to talk to him about ballet. Michael talks about Billy perhaps being a puff all while wearing a dress. Brilliant. Than he makes Billy dress up too “It’s fine to do it, my dad does all the time” – gold. Like I said, every scene where he had bits of dialogue, usually with Billy, he stole the scene. He was Billy’s opposite I suppose. Michael is such a bright ball of…something that offset Billy’s serious/difficult nature. Billy’s dealing with his mother’s death, not wanting to be a normal kid and box, his desire to do ballet, his dad and brother being on strike, letting his ballet teacher down and not being ‘himself’ – which is one of the things his mom tells him to do in her letter to him. Where as Michael can just run around wearing skirts (in private) and box, even though he usually hides/slacks off from the teacher. A pleasing balance in a childhood friendship.

So all in all, I enjoyed this musical and would recommend it. So until next time ~ Q

Weekend Update: Mirror, Mirror – Memphis – Fort

As I expected, having an unknown (or perhaps low) expectation of the movie proved to workout. I enjoyed Mirror, Mirror very much. I really liked the costuming for the various party scenes, especially the costume ball. It was also a different experience going to the theater here. It theater is an actual theater ie has an actual stage and curtain. My favorite part may have been at the beginning of the movie when the curtain raised up to reveal the screen. Fun times.

Saturday too, was a blast. This time going to the musical without knowing exactly what it was about ended well. (Last year I went to a play not having a clue what it was about and it ended up being about a very dysfunctional family. The mother was actually crazy and had her memories erased via electroshock. Not the best surprise in the world. A very heavy musical, that’s for sure.) This one had its moments too, since it took place in the south during the 50s and revolved around a white man and black woman. I really enjoyed it, the actors were great.

Today I made my fort, which was super fun…but a bit of a fail. It collapsed after 6 hours or so. Turns out fish line can’t hold up 4 sheets plus a handful of pillowcases. It was super fun having it up until it fell though and I’ve learned a bit from my mistake. Like if I want to use fish line, perhaps use more than one strand. Might be good to double it up…a couple times. I have left pillowland up though, It’s super squish and comfy.I think I’ll go read more of my book there, so until next time~Q