Friday, June 29, 2007

Some Giddyyup

So, I made my husband's wildest dreams come true yesterday. (Don't even go there. I know you did. Shame on you!) I actually gave him permission to go to Fry's and spend money. Yep, I sent him to buy me an external harddrive. I've put off this purchase far too long. And now both home computers are completely bogged down by oodles of MBs of digital files. I'm now the proud owner of a 400GB external harddrive. Think that's enough? Ha! Yeh, me too. So tonight begins the great clean sweep of the computers. I'm looking forward to using Photoshop without it taking forever for it to load and/or do anything!

Poor Meeko

Dropped Meeko off at the vet last night. He will officially be un-boy and un-clawed and will not be permanently lost ever again. For all of you out there opposed to such things, don't go gettin' holy roly on me about the claw thing. I have three other cats who are without, and they are completely unaffected. And I can't very well allow Meeko to remain weapons-loaded if the others aren't. Besides, he's already decided clawing things is fun & he refuses to take to the sisal thing & he's only momentarily deterred when interrupted. Enough said. We pick him up tomorrow. He gets a few days to recover & then we put the menagerie together. And that, folks, should be exceedingly entertaining.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Need an Ark

Seriously. It rained more than 3" just yesterday and they're calling for another 3-5" today. Yes, folks, you read that right. Have I mentioned our drainage problem on the back patio? We have to get a sump pump installed. It can't be good for the back patio to be standing in water for so long. Well, I guess it hasn't technically stood for that long. But it's continually covered with water until we pump it since it's rained almost every day since May 1st. I hate to think about how much water we've already pumped off it with our "creative" system of water hoses & the shop vac. But remember, the builder says we "don't have a drainage problem." Yeah right! But...on the bright side, the lakes should be full to the brim and I hope that means that we'll officially be off all drought restrictions once we do finally see some sunshine.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Officially Begins

With Secret Garden officially closed, my summer truly begins. And it's ironic that my quote-a-day calendar says

If you are setting new goals for yourself,
be sure to put enjoyment of life at the top of the list.

-From Simple Wisdom by New Seasons Publications

Right on! And that's exactly what I intend to do with the remainder of my summer. I think I've mentioned before that I have absolutely nothing on tap until at least September. And while I was at first a little upset by this b/c it translated into failed auditions, I began to appreciate the thought of free time. I haven't had any of that since the fall.

So now I begin making the summer to-do list. I'm pretty much reiterating my list of 07 goals. While I've done pretty well crossing things off that list, there are still quite a few things remaining:

  • Finish sealing kitchen tile
  • Finish staining fence
  • Finish cleaning out garage
  • Finish cleaning out flowerbeds
  • Finish travel scrapbook
  • Clean out/reorganize closets
  • Paint interior walls

And while I might not complete all of these before year's end, crossing anything off the list will be an accomplishment. Does this really seem to fit with "enjoyment of life?" Well sure...if you're A-R/O-C like I am. Will these things be on Derek's list of "fun things" to do for the summer? Heck no, but he'll have fun anyway...b/c I said he will!

Completely unrelated but flitting across my mind, 'tis time once again to tinker with my blood pressure medication. I went for my six-month check-up last week. My blood pressure was running low (100/68) and has been for a few months. While I've had no adverse symptoms, like dizziness or lightheadedness, my doctor wants me to cut my current dosage of atenolol/HCTZ in half and closely monitor my bp to see if it comes up some. I suppose my low bp could explain my recent fatigue. Though I've attributed it to a horrific allergy season, perhaps hypotension has been a contributor.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Come See The Secret Garden

Repertory Company Theatre of Richardson presents The Secret Garden. Based on the beloved children’s book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, it is a beautiful story about the healing power of love and the miracle of rebirth. This captivating musical has a gorgeous score written by Lucy Simon and a touching story adapted for the stage by Tony Award-winning lyricist Marsha Norman. Under the direction of Deborah Carter, the show opens June 15th and will run two full weekends with two evening performances and a Sunday matinee each weekend. For more information or for tickets, call the RCT box office at 972-690-5029.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Everything

You're a falling star, you're the get away car.
You're the line in the sand when I go too far.
You're the swimming pool on an August day.
And you're the perfect thing to say.

And you play your card, but it's kinda cute.
Ah, when you smile at me you know exactly what you do.
Baby don't pretend, that you don't know it's true.
Cause you can see it when I look at you.

[Chorus:]
And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you. You make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.

You're a carousel, you're a wishing well,
And you light me up when you ring my bell.
You're a mystery, you're from outer space,
You're every minute of my everyday.

And I can't believe that I'm your man,
And I get to kiss you baby just because I can.
Whatever comes our way, we'll see it through,
And you know that's what our love can do.

[Chorus:]

So, La, La, La, La, La, La, La
So, La, La, La, La, La, La, La

[Chorus:]

So, La, La, La, La, La, La, La
So, La, La, La, La, La, La, La

-Michael Buble

Enjoying Quiet Week

Because we're all so awesome, the cast of Secret Garden has had the entire week off. What does that mean? Well, for the last week I haven't had to dash home, wolf down dinner, and head for the theatre. What else does that mean? I get to spend time doing whatever I want--i.e. spending time in the craft room--and Derek has actually gotten home-cooked food. Tonight I hope to finish a scrapbooking project for a co-worker. Assuming I get done and have time to snap/upload photos, you should see the end result if you hop over to the craft blog ... but not 'til tomorrow. So don't bother going to look for it now. {Friday update: I did finish the project and took photos. I'll edit them & post a slideshow sometime late this afternoon.}

While I've had a relaxing week, Derek has been working his hiney off. He's worked late all but last night. But hey, we're not complaining. It's been a slow month. It's picked up so much that he may, once again, meet the requirements of one of the sales contests. This time he wins a $300 pair of sunglasses.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Review: The Secret Garden

Talent Blossoms in A Secret Garden at Repertory Company Theatre
By Mark-Brian Sonna

Repertory Company Theatre of Richardson inaugurated their new space with what is perhaps one of the most difficult musicals to mount properly: A Secret Garden. While the story is simple--a girl is orphaned and taken to live in England, only to become ignored by all adults and finds solace and healing in a "Secret Garden" that not only transforms her but is able to also transform all those around her--the musical has a score that requires from most of the singers an operatic range, yet because it's a family musical it dare not enter into the realm of opera. The timeline of the story is confused in that not only do we have flashbacks but some of the characters from the past at times interact with characters in the present. The play demands a large scale set for there are numerous locales that must be taken into account. Lastly it requires an enormous cast, something most small theatres can't pull off effectively for they lack the talent pool.

So how did RCT do? Quite admirably.

The entire cast is absolutely solid in their musicianship. Jaw-droppingly-gorgeous voices abound. I cannot emphasize enough how talented this group is vocally, it was thrilling hearing them sing. On top of that, many are also very good actors. Standouts include Laura Alley as Lily with a liquid voice that is haunting and befitting of her character, Darin Fimple whose baritone voice projects a palpable tension and subdued rage found in his character Dr. Neville Craven, Loree Westbrooks as Martha the maid who delivers each sung note so honestly and makes the daunting score seem absolutely natural, and Elizabeth Evans as Mary Lennox, the lead who so completely inhabits her character that her singing was sublimely effortless. My only quibbles with the rest of the cast, and it may have been more of directing choice, versus a performer's choice, was that when they were getting ready to sing, we, as an audience, knew it. A musical such as this requires the performer to glide back and forth between speaking and singing, which the four mentioned above were able to do with great ease and they also never broke down the fourth wall. I wish the rest of the cast could have followed their example. This constant break between song and dialogue and the breaking down of a fourth wall may have been due to either a directorial choice of Debra Carter, or an oversight in direction since it was so inconsistent. When the performers stopped to sing to the audience instead of to each other the momentum of the drama would break, and the musical developed a concert-like feel, then, moments later the fourth wall would be back up, and the drama would continue. This flaw unfortunately diminished the overall emotional impact this musical is meant to create.

While the concept of the stage design was good, the lighting unfortunately cast too many awkward shadows, dark spots, and surprisingly intense bright spots, not always where they needed to be. Also since this is a period piece, plastic pots stood out amongst all the period-correct clothing. Kudos must be given to the choreographer Brittany Levrae for it was spot on.

Overall these quibbles are minor. The fact that RCT was able to pull together such a complex show, with such an amazing array of superb vocal talent in what is a very comfortable new theatre space, proves that RCT has become a major player in the North Texas Theatre scene. To inaugurate their new theatre space with such a solid show is a sign of good things to come.

The Secret Garden, book and lyrics by Marsha Norman, Music by Lucy Simon, runs through June 24, 2007. Details www.rcttheatre.com Box office #972-690-5029. Tickets $12- $20. Repertory Theatre Company is located at 650 N. Coit #2320, Richardson, TX 75080.

Mark-Brian Sonna is an independent theatre producer in the North Texas area, and is artistic director of MBS Productions.

The Big 2-5




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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Success

We officially closed our first weekend of Secret Garden. All in all, I would say it was a great success. That's not to say that each show was without its bumps, but they were all runs of which we can be proud. Next weekend is almost completely sold, so if you're planning to see the show but don't have tickets, call early in the week. We expect a complete sell-out before we open final weekend on Friday.

Welcome, Meeko

Yep, it's official. We have "sucker" stamped across the forehead. Despite the fact that we had several people interested in our cute Siamese foundling, we ultimately decided to add him to our own family. His sweet, loving nature really endeared him to us. (We would be horrible foster parents!)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Another Blog

One of the many hobbies I have is paper crafting. Primarily, for me anyway, this includes scrapbooking, stamping, and cardmaking. I began scrapbooking just before Derek and I got married (almost 7 years ago!) after receiving a scrapbook kit as a wedding gift. Since then, my hobby has grown and expanded--as have my skills. While my singing prevents me from staying as "up" on my craft as I would like, I still manage to do a significant amount of crafting. I got into stamping and cardmaking about a year ago when my mom introduced me to stamping. Given the fact that I have all of the basic materials to make my own greeting cards, it only made sense. Since then, this part of my paper crafting hobby has really taken off. I'm often asked to make cards for others and who doesn't have a million & one things to get/send cards for?!

The new blog will be devoted to examples of my scrapbooking layouts and greeting cards. I'll do my best to post often.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Nice Reminder

When feeling inadequate and overwhelmed,
consider that the forest would be silent if
the birds sang only the songs they had perfected.

-From Simple Wisdom published by New Seasons

Monday, June 11, 2007

Our Houseguest

Our four-legged houseguest is now approaching a week's stay. I was able to spend large chunks of time with him this weekend. Our little Siamese is such a sweetheart. He wants nothing more than to be with people. If you sit down with him, he rubs on you, sits and stares at you with those I-know-you-want-to-pet-me green eyes of his, flops down beside you and rolls over for a belly rub, and ultimately crawls in your lap & cuddles up for a nap. He's so personable. Anyone looking for a doglike cat, our Siamese houseguest is definitely your guy. He'll follow you wherever you go, he's a terrific "helper" (he even helped me water & plant flowers), he loves to be carried around, he'll snuggle up with you if you let him...must I go on??? In the week that he's been with us, we haven't had a single call about him. We were hoping the "found" messages at the vets' offices and the animal shelter would uncover someone looking for this handsome guy. I mean, he's probably a $200-500 cat!! So now...the hunt for a suitable home begins. Don't get me wrong, we would love to keep him. BUT...we already have a house full. We would love for him to go to friends b/c then we could visit him whenever we want...or at the very least, keep up with him after he leaves us. Please consider adopting him.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reality Check

This proved to be an interesting weekend indeed. Today was a long rehearsal--the first in full costume. While this made things interesting, what really shook things up was nothing that occurred onstage. You see, one of our cast members has been battling cancer for some time. He's quite the trooper apparently. He's dropped in and out of rehearsals over the last month. And anytime he is absent, no one really worries--they just assume he's not feeling well b/c that happens often when you're in a battle for your life. Well, last week, he was MIA. Naturally, everyone assumed he wasn't well. He was at rehearsal yesterday. And come to find out, he suffered a heart attack last week. And it wasn't just a small one. It apparently required resuscitation, 9-1-1, the whole nine yards. To say that we were all shocked that he was at rehearsal was an understatement. He looked great. Who would have known he'd technically died for three minutes just the week before?! After almost two hours, he did begin to look a little peaked. But it was pretty hot in the theatre, particularly with the layers of not-so-cool costume pieces we were wearing. He disappeared for a while and a fellow castmate decided to look for him. He found Blue in the lobby, on the floor, leaning against the wall, obviously in pain--he was having another heart attack. He had already taken nitro, which had done little to alleviate his symptoms. Someone called 9-1-1. He was rushed to the hospital. We took an early dinner break. Trying to get back into rehearsal right away wouldn't be possible. We did ultimately continue rehearsal--all wondering what kind of news we might hear of Blue. As of today, no news. No news is good news? What a reality check for all of us. You never know what struggles another faces--how his troubles differ greatly from your own--how each breath, each heartbeat is a gift. God be with you, Blue--we wish you good health.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Found: One Male Siamese

Do you recognize this handsome guy? He's currently homeless and desperate to find his family. Though you cannot tell from this photo, his points are a lovely milk chocolate brown while his coat is light tan. We believe him to be unneutered given the fact that he loves to mark things, including you if you stand still long enough. (And there are also two other tell-tale signs, i.e. very large...well, you know.) He's approximately 12-18 mos old and has all claws intact, though they have all been trimmed recently. He's very friendly and characteristically Siamese, i.e. talkative. We are hoping to find his "real" family and return him. We found him without any identification, though we have not had him scanned for microchips yet. If you know anyone in Rowlett in search of their short-haired, male Siamese, please have them post a comment here.

Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to my former (now retired) boss, Justice James!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Some Party Photos

Dan & my friend Elise

Derek & Hunter

Skeet & Elise

Frank, Me, Ginny, and Beschoff

Mike & Mikey


Kelli & the cookie cake, Jared in the background

Will We Be Ready?

Just a little over a week before Secret Garden opens. We are now running the entire show at each rehearsal, but to say that it's still a rough draft, well, that's an understatement. There are still a few characters on-book. Yeah, I know. But they're close. Really. And there are still a few others who desperately need some vocal coaching aside from what they're getting at the theatre. Seriously. They have the potential to ruin the entire show. I keep thinking they'll improve, but, alas, no. If I consistently had that much trouble with pieces in a show, I would work my butt off outside of rehearsal to get them right. Then again, I generally don't have consistent pitch issues either. Are they deaf? Can't they hear how flat they are? Painful. Painful. But! We still have a week. And I'm praying that they finally nail those pieces. At the very least, I hope they nail them in performance. Because trust me. You won't remember how awesome everyone else is. You'll remember how dreadful they are!

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Weekend from the Weekend

Ever have one of those weekends where you need another one just to recover? It was one of those...a busy one, for sure.

Friday we dashed home to do some last-minute yardwork while the grass was dry and before more storms moved in Friday night. As you can see, I didn't get very far with such a short time to spare. While Derek complained that he was having to do yardwork on his birthday, he was very glad to have it done once he got up Saturday morning. Everything was super squishy again after the big overnight storms.

After a few hours in the yard, we hurriedly cleaned up to meet his parents for dinner at Nick & Sam's. Yum. What's better than starting the evening with caviar and ending with creme brulee? I've eaten at several steakhouses, and I have my favorites. But Nick & Sam's really took the cake. Mmmmmm. That's all I can say.

Saturday I got up relatively early and started working in the yard again. While I couldn't go back to finish the flowerbed I had started weeding on Friday (it was standing in water), I could get to the one across from it. Derek finally rolled out of bed and finished the little bit of yardwork he had left--thankfully, it was only weedeating. Then he helped me with the weeding. We managed to get that bed completely cleaned out. It was too wet to plant the lantana I bought for it, and we decided we wanted to redo all of the weed mat before we finish it anyway. With the sunshine this week, we just might be dry enough to try that this weekend. I moved on to the front flowerbeds, which weren't as bad but still needed attention. Then it was time to clean the back porch and patio in preparation for evening company. By about 2, I'd gotten everything done I could accomplish outside (or that I wanted to accomplish anyway--my back was screaming at me). So I got cleaned up and worked on tidying inside...and took a little siesta with the dog...it was a hard day's work, after all. Then the birthday party got underway. Our neighbor Dan played host to most of the block and a bunch of our friends. We had three grills going. And by the time it was all said and done, I think we cooked about two cows and five hundred chickens. It seemed like it anyway! I'm not sure what time the party officially ended--I had to leave early to get enough rest to sing two services on Sunday. I do know that a terrific time was had by all! Thanks, Dan, for everything!

Sunday, I sang two services and had a six-hour rehearsal. I believe Derek spent the day recovering.

And now...a new week begins. Just eleven days 'til show--guess what I'll be doing?!

Friday, June 01, 2007