Saturday, April 28, 2007

Weekend Update

Made it through a slow week. Ever have those? Where the weekend just never seems to come soon enough?

Enjoyed an evening with a new neighbor last night. He's in the Navy and has tons of interesting stories to tell. Haven't a clue what he actually does. It's classified, so he can't tell us. Anyway, we cooked out, shot some pool, and just generally shot the breeze.

I've gone back to my country roots. Last night we became the proud owners of a Ford F150 Super Crew. It was a deal we couldn't pass up. And we often find ourselves needing a truck. And when you don't have one, it's a pain to find someone with one who's free to help you out when you're ready to do something. We're pretty proud of the new purchase and think it will be great to have around.

Today we enjoyed a day at the Byron Nelson. Actually, I enjoyed the day more than Derek did. He had to work the Stryker booth in the pavilion while I got to traverse the course. He had the afternoon shift, so it was already good & warm when we arrived and all of the players were beyond the early holes I wanted to sit and watch played. So I went to old faithful, number 17. As usual, pin placement was tricky. I saw some great shots and awesome saves. This year, though, I was disturbed by the vast number of rude spectators. In all my years attending, I cannot remember encountering so many who had no course etiquette. I did finally find a spot where I was out of the way of that kind of crowd and managed to salvage what I thought was going to be a rotten day.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A New Week

The weekend sure went by in a blur. And there are just never enough hours in it. I managed to accomplish most of what I set out to do. The birthday party was a huge success and the surprise went over exceedingly well, as we suspected it would. Parts of the house are picked up and orderly. The laundry, as I suspected, remains where I left it last week...sitting in the dryer. I'll get to that tonight, I guess. The cards I promised my co-worker are finished & delivered--she loved them. I bought summer plants and have them planted (photos later). I bought new fish for the water garden, and they seem to be doing well. We bought new mulch for the flowerbeds but haven't gotten it out yet. I still have weeds to pull in the back and some in the front. I need to follow-up on the weed-n-feed by spraying the new sprouts, and it's almost time for the second lawn feeding. If it doesn't rain tonight, I can work some more in the yard.

I thoroughly enjoyed my first lesson with the new voice teacher. He zeroed in on several of my issues. The main goal we have is accomplishing a better chiaroscuro in my voice. Chiaro meaning the bright edge in the voice and scuro meaning the dark and round quality of the voice. Ultimately, you want a perfect balance between the two. Right now, my voice is exceedingly bright. It always has been. We do not want to do away with that quality. We simply want to add a warm, round sound to the bright. Ultimately, my voice will have a more rich, mature sound if we can accomplish this. I have a feeling this will be a long process. It means an augmentation of vowel production, a close attention to embouchure, a complete relaxation of the entire face, retraining my ear to listen for the new sounds. These things are not entirely new to me. My current voice teacher and I have been working on some of them for some time. But I have almost twenty years of flute habits ingrained in me, and they are quite different from those I should incorporate in my singing. I will only have three lessons with my new teacher before he leaves for summer vacation. I only hope I can retain all that I learn. I recorded yesterday's session, and I'm anxious to go back and listen to it. I'm always surprised to hear the differences that aren't apparent in the lesson itself.

Friday, April 20, 2007

TGIF

I realize I haven't been blogging much this week. Honestly, there isn't much to say. It's been a quiet week, and I've simply enjoyed the break. I've been catching up on laundry. There were literally mounds of it to do. I hope to finish over the weekend, but the weekend is already full of things to do so I don't hold out much hope for that. As usually happens when I do laundry, I'll likely end up leaving a load of laundry stranded in the dryer and suddenly realize that I have piles to do.

Tonight we're celebrating my neighbor's 30th birthday. We're cooking out and enjoying the lovely weather and the pleasure of each other's company. For her birthday, we are surprising her with her husband. Sounds odd, right? He lost his job about six months ago, and at the first of the year, he and a friend/former co-worker started a company in Baton Rouge. Since leaving to start the company, he has only been home once--just briefly during race weekend--but the two of them didn't get real quality time together. So...we're flying him in for this entire weekend. Somehow, we've all managed to keep this a secret for the last three weeks. It will be a terrific birthday present.

The remainder of the weekend is full of running here and there. I have an assortment of cards to make for a co-worker. The yardwork that I didn't get done last weekend still awaits me. And there's the general cleaning and all of that.

On a completely different note, I'll be getting a new voice teacher. My current voice teacher would like for me to study with one of her colleagues. She thinks there are areas in which I can grow and sometimes a fresh approach helps. I've been adjudicated at NATS by this particular colleague that she recommended, and his comments were constructive and very helpful. My first lesson is scheduled for Monday. I'm anxious to see what areas he begins to address and how this may grow my voice.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dessert Anyone

Today was fun. The youth had a luncheon to raise money for their summer tour. Their biggest fundraiser of the luncheon was the dessert auction. I don't know if you've ever attended one of these, but they're great fun--particularly when you actually have money to spend. I had already decided how much I was going to give towards the day's events and decided I would take part in the bidding. At my previous church, dessert auctions are well-established events & bring in thousands of dollars which means I was never a contender in an auction. This was the first of its kind at this church, so I felt reasonably assured I could have a little fun. And what do you know, I came home with two desserts and really helped drive up the bidding on many of the items. It was great fun!

The rest of the afternoon, I'm still working on the laundry. Seriously, how do two people have so much laundry??? Gonna plan something yummy for dinner and take a nap. Somewhere in there I'm sure I'll watch a little tv and do some more light cleaning.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Errands and Such

Well, we've all recovered from the night of storms. And all of the family escaped the storm unscathed. My parents were only hit with pounding rain and wind. The tornado touched down south of them, just as it did us. Thus far, the news is reporting at least four confirmed touchdowns, though that won't be officially official until the National Weather Service surveys each location. Judging by the damage captured on video, I would say it's safe to say that there were at least two touchdowns.

Today I did lots of running around. I met with my church choir director to plan a program I'm scheduled to sing elsewhere the first of May. I needed help pulling together music. I was on a good track, but she has a much bigger library than I so it was great to get a few extra pieces. I got the grocery shopping finished too. That was several stops in several places, so that took up the remainder of the afternoon. I'm now making dinner, sorting laundry, and just generally straightening up the house.

I had planned to buy flowers today, but it's f-reezing! Not to mention exceedingly windy. It's supposed to be nice tomorrow. If it's warmer, I might buy and plant flowers. Otherwise, that will be next weekend's project instead. Believe me, I have plenty inside to keep me busy all of this weekend and then some!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Whew...That Was Close

Well, we've just had an interesting night. The weather forecasters have been talking all day about the imminent threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Living at the bottom end of tornado alley, you probably think it's no big deal, right? WRONG! While we're no strangers to severe weather, I honestly cannot remember a time when forecasters spent so much time talking about the tornadoes that WILL touch down. To say that this induces a type of panic that is difficult to describe is ... well, difficult to describe. The storms were supposed to reach us mid-afternoon. However, those storms took their sweet time getting here.

I called Derek as I was leaving work to be sure he knew the plan for evacuation--he's at Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend NASCAR races. Wouldn't you know he hadn't a clue what the TMS severe weather plan was. And he was in the RV rather than at the track. I had heard TMS was planning what to do with the 300,000+ people camping on the grounds. But apparently, they weren't good a disseminating the information to the people who needed it most. Anyway, I told Derek to get to the track before the weather got to him b/c the publicized plan was to evacuate fans to the grandstands restrooms and pit garages. So nearly two hours later, as the tornado warning is issued for TMS and the surrounding area, I call Derek to see that he's left the RV for shelter. NOPE! Great, we've got a confirmed tornado on the ground & you're a sitting duck in a tin can. Long story short, he calls about thirty minutes later and says he's made it to the safe zone and the storm had passed, leaving them with nothing but rain and wind.

Meanwhile, I'm at home glued to the coverage of the approaching storm, barreling its way to Dallas at about 30 mph. Best I could tell, the worst part of the storm--that with the wall cloud and confirmed rotation that spawned a tornado in Haltom City--was headed straight for Rowlett. And sure enough, it was. As the storm approached, the sky got green and the already whipping winds picked up in intensity. As I'm gathering cats into crates to put them in the hall bath, the tornado sirens begin sounding. According to radar, the storm isn't overhead yet so I go outside to watch as it comes in, hoping to get a good look at the wall cloud. All I could see was driving rain and hail. The sirens go off a second time. Derek calls to see if I'm in the bathroom yet. Nope, I'm watching the storm. As I'm standing on the front porch, I notice a change in the wind. It begins whipping the trees in circles. The sirens go off a third time, and Dori and I now head for the hall bath. Here we are, all five of us in the smallest room in the house. Dori's happy I have treats. The cats are pissed off b/c they're in the carriers and have been for 30 min. So they're screaming at the top of their lungs--"Let me out, you foul woman!" The lights are blinking. The wind is roaring. The rain is pouring. And the hail is still coming down. It sounds awful. Then it's quiet. The sirens go off a fourth time. Everything starts up again--wind, rain, hail. Altogether, we were in the bathroom about 30 min or so. After talking to Derek, I knew the worst of the storm had passed and that we were likely in the clear. And really, as quickly as conditions had worsened, it was quiet.

I saw that the storm was close to my brother, so I tried to calling them to see if they were alright but all the circuits were busy. Then I remembered that David was working, so I called his work phone and got him. He was sitting in his car watching the storm. His wife was at home freaking out. I then called mom & Granny to let them know we were fine. As I was talking to them, I began inspecting for damage--none, at least by all appearances.

So ... now I have to find a way to settle down after all of that adrenaline went pumping. Now that it appears the same storm, still as intense as it was when it hit us, is on its way for my parents, that might be difficult.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Planning Ahead for Me Time

Now that the crazy schedule of the last two-ish months is back to normal, I'm having a great time planning some me time. This weekend, Derek makes his second-annual trek to "the races" for a boys weekend, which means I have four days of peace & quiet that I can use as I please. And since the house is already clean, I can actually do fun things all weekend.

Now that Easter's come & gone, it's time to start thinking about the plants I'm going to buy. I have lots of perennials popping up so I really just need some filler here & there. With the drought last summer, I let all of my potted herbs burn into crispy nothing-ness. So I definitely have to replace those. Otherwise, I'm buying some spots of color, like gerbera daisies, zinnias, and salvia, b/c it makes me happy. So I plan to play in the plants on Saturday. Dori will be exceedingly happy b/c that means she gets to play in the backyard and "help." The husky's nickname is "Madam Helpful" after all. Trust me, she'll be in the middle of everything, but she has a pretty good eye for where things should go...once I get them back from her, that is. And the water garden needs a serious cleaning, the pickerel weed needs repotting, & my one lonely fish needs a friend or two.

Aside from the happy gardening, I may do a little laundry (heaven help us, we have no clean towels), scrapbook, and see some girlfriends. Otherwise, I'll watch HGTV, eat some bon-bons, and sit on my duff. Yay for me time!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Finally...Rest

I survived yesterday...and today, for that matter. The morning rehearsal for Easter Sunday was a fiasco, much as I expected. I was in very foul temperament, though I tried not to inflict it upon my neighbors at rehearsal. It seemed everyone went to bed very much past their regular bedtimes b/c everyone was a bit testy. I dashed home after rehearsal for a quick bite and to gather my things for the theatre. Final run-through was alright. We had a much longer dinner break than anticipated, which means I got a small nap which helped tremendously in the foul mood department. Last night's show was a huge success. We were completely sold out. I'm not sure what the final tallies were for attendance or the fundraising portion, but I feel certain we did really well. I managed to get home by 10:30. It was up early this morning, though, to get to church by 7:30 for a quick rehearsal before the 8:15 service. I wasn't "on" for this service b/c I was barely awake. I think we were all in the same boat b/c we were in much better voice second service. Now, I plan to veg out in front of the tv in hopes of falling asleep for as long as possible. Since my dear, sweet husband cleaned the entire house last night, I don't have to lift a finger today. Yay!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

SNOW???

Yes, you read that right. SNOW! It's snowing. No, I'm not imagining things. No, I'm not hallucinating. Seriously. It's snowing...in April...in Dallas. I'm as stunned as you are.

Ugh

So last night's full-run, costume tech went fine. We actually got out at a semi-decent hour. And then...I made a bad decision. I decided to spend a little post-rehearsal time grabbing a bite with everyone. I mean, I really haven't gotten a chance to get to know anyone. The only time we've spent together is in rehearsal. And there hasn't been much down time there. Well, this would have been fine & dandy had we been able to get in & out of the restaurant quickly. But to say it was a fiasco is...well, an understatement. Another late night it turned out to be...I should have gone with my gut instinct & just gone home after rehearsal and caught up on sleep. Lesson learned. Today's 10 am rehearsal for Easter will suck b/c I'm tired & in no mood for it. And then it's straight to the theatre for final run-through & then the show. I'm excited, can you tell?

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's Official....I'm Crazy

It's weeks like this that confirm the fact that I have completely lost my mind. Last night's no-costume tech rehearsal ran until 11:45, which means I didn't leave the theatre until midnight, which means I didn't get home until almost 12:30, which means I didn't get in bed and to sleep until about 1, which means this requires-at-least-8-hrs-of-sleep-girl isn't going to get her requisite 8 hrs but rather a measly 4 hrs, which means I will likely be cranky tomorrow. And I have to sing the Good Friday service and then dash to a second full-run, costume tech rehearsal. I believe this will likely spell a weekend of exceedingly snappy, sassy Susan. Yay for everyone!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Congrats, Bub!


Congratulations to my brother who is officially off probation & now has a car of his own. He begins patrols on his own this week.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Day at Home Anyone

So this morning I was writing out where I had to be each evening this week on my calendar at work. Don't ask me why I do this. I'm not really sure. It's not like I don't have my schedule written 15 other places. But for whatever reason, I feel the need to remind myself at work that I have way too much to do outside of work. Anywho, I digress. So I realized that there isn't a single evening this week that I will be able to stay home. Nope, not a single one from Monday to Sunday. And that kinda made me sad. I'm a homebody by nature. Just ask my friends who constantly invite me places but rarely get me out. Maybe it's because I've always been busy, so I relish the idea of having time to myself. Anyway, I reiterate an earlier post...I'll be glad when Easter is over. Then I can stay home more evenings than I'm gone. I can clean and garden and scrapbook and all of the others things I've neglected the last two months. (Sigh) Yes, I look forward to the passing of Easter.

Scotch???

On the first day of school, the children brought gifts for their teacher. The florist's son brought the teacher a bouquet of flowers. The candy-store owner's daughter gave the teacher a pretty box of candy. Then the liquor-store owner's son brought up a big, heavy box. The teacher lifted it up and noticed that it was leaking a little bit. She touched a drop of the liquid with her finger and tasted it.

"Is it wine?" she guessed.
"No," the boy replied.
She tasted another drop and asked, " Champagne?"
"No," said the little boy, "it's a puppy."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

From One Whirlwind to the Next

This has been a busy weekend for sure. Yesterday, I drove to Fort Worth to sing at the Texoma Region NATS vocal competition. Because I'm old and not in an official vocal program, I could only participate in the "comments only" adult division. I was disappointed that I didn't get to sing the one aria that I really wanted critiqued. Our room was running at least 15 min. behind & no participant got to sing all of the arias. Unfortunately, they cut "The Silver Aria" for me. I did get to sing "Spring," a great contemporary art song by Argento, "Sonntag," or "Sunday" which is a German art song by Brahms, and "I'll Know" from Guys & Dolls. I'll get my comments from my voice teacher on Monday. I'm interested to see if I've improved since last year.

We had our first costume run-through at RCT. That was interesting. I have three quick costume changes in Act II. Hopefully I can manage them.

Sunday I sang two services at church. We sang Natalie Sleeth's Jazz Gloria in both services. It's such a fun contemporary mass. And I think it was well-received by the congregation, though I do think they were a little surprised by the electric bass & drums. Oh yeah, and remember my clock incident with the time change? Guess who's clock sprung forward this weekend? But I anticipated this & had set the alarm on my cell phone instead.

I spent the remainder of this afternoon grouting the kitchen backsplash. While it was indeed as easy as dad said it would be, I wasn't prepared for what hard work it would be. Dad neglected to mention that I would need the muscles of Tarzan to work the grout completely into the grooves and that I would need the flexibility of a Chinese contortionist to get all the way under the cabinets, particularly that blasted corner. But...after a minor panic attack over how quickly things were setting up, I did manage to complete the grouting. And while I intended to get my house cleaned when I finished, it took me so long to grout that I was exhausted & couldn't even fathom another two hours of hard labor. So I took a hot bubble bath, knowing that I would hurt in all kinds of muscles I didn't even know I had come Monday morning! I'm going to give it a week to cure & then seal it. Another few days & then I'll caulk.

This next week is packed to the gills with things to do. And guess what, yep, they're all rehearsals!