May 31, 2006


We found something nearly an inch long that looked like this

crawling around in our kitchen window. Threateningly.

Okay, we know that theoretically jumping spiders - even unnaturally huge ones that make thumping noises when they step - are (relatively) harmless.

We don't care. We sent it to meet it's Maker. Because it was pacing directly above our stove, and we weren't sure that if we had to wrestle with it over tonight's chicken, we would emerge victorious.

We weren't afraid to use our swords, if we had to...

(we used hairspray and a mercifully brief drubbing with a rolled up newspaper, instead)

May 30, 2006

Stuff For Mrs. Pao

... who needs a bit of cheering up. Although I think her Gang may not appreciate my giving her ideas!

Stuff of the Day

Do you remember the Upper Class Twit of the Year Pentathlon skit that Monty Python did?

Is this a Cultural Thing?

(Thanks for this one, Sis)

May 29, 2006

Freaks, Geeks, & Bad Boys

The Vampire has already auditioned for, and gotten a part in, a musical at a theater that is new for him.

We found out about the auditions on the Monday following the last weekend of Little Shop of Horrors. He auditioned on Tuesday; without time to prepare, he ended up doing an a capella version of 'Suppertime' from LSoH. On Wednesday they called to let him know that he got a part. One of the main roles, actually.

Could be really cool, great experience. Hooray! etc...

Our only two issues with this scenario:

1. Of the four main male roles, two are baritenors (one highish, one medium), one is bass-baritone, and one is tenor.

If you are familiar at all with the part of the plant "Audrey II" in LSoH, you are aware that this calls for bass-baritone, with some nice big bass lines. Which (Chris will hopefully verify) the Vampire was well able to provide.

The role he got for this new production is the tenor part. It's a tenor part that also includes a rock-style song that makes use of *falsetto*.

The Vampire's voice hasn't 'settled' yet (in men that often doesn't happen until the early-to-mid twenties), and vocal chords are more prone to damage at that immature stage.

Something to keep an eye on.

2. The audition tested voice only, not movement or acting skills. And they didn't have time to chat or assess the auditioner's personality.

On that particular day we updated the V's resume, and took a quick snap of the kid's face per the audition notice. I just happened to take the shot from slightly above that day, and the angle made the V look a bit more cynical than is typical of him...

He also wore black jeans (Vampire uniform) and a black t-shirt with a stylized flaming skull on it (it's the logo for some band or other, the V just thought it looked cool).

This, combined with the hair and the bad mood he was in at the time (still tired from LSoH) obviously left the director with the impression that the V fit the role's "chief bad boy" description.

The problem being that the V is a klutz and self-confessed Geek. He is the true descendent of a long line of people who got beaten up on the playground. A lot.

They think they're getting James Dean, and instead they're getting Jim Carrey.

The Vampire loves playing the Bad Guy, but his experience is more along the lines of Snidely Whiplash than [pick just about any character played by Kiefer Sutherland].

This is going to be a Challenge. It's going to take a lot of training... and a lot of luck and support. Send your Good Acting vibes this way, please!

PS - Bravo for an excellent job as Nana in Velveteen Rabbit, LadyBlue... Encore!

May 28, 2006

Speak Quietly...

... and carry a pointy stick. Or four pointy sticks, in my case, since I am working on fingerless gloves *and* socks at the moment. Pics will come later, I'm sure.

Of course, I use the word "working" extremely loosely, in the "I intend to do something with this yarn at some point before it soaks up enough of the humidity in the air to weigh more than I do" sense.

First of all, it is much too hot (in the early 90's) and much too muggy for my beloved wool to hold much appeal.

Which is just cruel, because I ignored the tortured screaming of my checking account a short while ago and went to the Shephard's Harvest Festival... and was adopted by a spindle and some very lovely roving (corriedale, corriedale and silk, and a bit of lovely baby merino in my favorite dark green-and-purple sort of colorway), and I really want to get at pretending that I have a clue what to do with my newfound treasures. (pics coming of these as well, I imagine)

Second of all, I really MEAN it when I request that you speak quietly. Even better, don't speak at all. Because I have an inner ear infection, and have spent the last couple days curled up in a fetal position, answering the anxious queries of my guys with vague assurances that I was sure I wasn't going to die - because I was relatively certain that I couldn't wobble all the way to the kitchen where they were ungallantly hiding the sharp knives. Or to the living room where lurks The Basket, which currently holds hostage the wool and projects in question.

The Weather Channel is holding out hope for a slight lowering of temps by midweek (middle 80's... if it's not too humid, we could at least *pretend* that approximates a reasonable wool-working atmosphere). I'm determinedly dosing my ear up with hydrogen peroxide+H2O - eew, I HATE blocked-up ears, even for a few minutes - just in case they are telling the truth. I want to be ready.

How does one prevent overtwist?

May 22, 2006

I Didn't Die

The Pirate points out, not-too-gently, that my previous choice of subject matter might combine with more than two weeks of bloggish silence and lead people to be unnecessarily concerned for my health.

I did have a cold or flu sort of thingie for a while, and I've got more than my share of aches and pains and etc, but I am not at death's door by any means.

What I am is exhausted, and going through some sort of wheezing pouting period. In other words, I didn't have time to write for the past few weeks... until Monday, and I decided to just waste Monday by lolling around the house, knitting and reading and refusing to wash my hair.

So there.

This comes from volunteering (why do I do that?) and also from having no reasonable sense of boundaries whatsoever when it comes to Fixing Things.

So I spent the last four weeks or so in a rapidly escalating sense of Panic and Impending Doom, at least some of which was probably entirely unnecessary. And *that* led me to devote more and more of my time to Crisis Management, and no time at all to important things like... well, like knitting, or blogging, or getting some sort of handle on financial matters, or getting chores done.

What was I doing? Other than fretting, which I obviously excel at?

I was making plants.

Okay - I was painting and sewing and gluing and sewing and cutting and stuffing and sewing and pinning and sewing and running errands and sewing and hauling wood and sewing and painting some more and sewing some more. Did I mention sewing? My fingers are actually so calloused that I can't feel the wool under my fingers anymore when I knit, I've been sewing through tough materials (and pricking my fingers with darning needles) so much.

Part of this frenzy of activity was the making of set pieces and painting of sets, and part of this was costume making, but most of it was making plants.

Great big giant plants. The sort that are big enough to swallow people. Several people, in point of fact.

Because the Vampire was in a production of "Little Shop of Horrors". And he was the voice for the plant (in point of fact, there were four versions, each larger than the last). The show was big, complicated, and demanding. Not more than they could normally handle, and the kids were working hard - but the show was showing signs of being buried under an avalanche of health and other disasters (see post below). So even in the second (and final) week of the production run, we were still working on the plants. We might finish them next year.

But the kids were great.

I'll let Chris tell you more about how they did, and specifically about how the Vampire did... because you'll be less likely to dismiss her as being blinded by Stage Mommyness.

I won't tell you whether I bribed her or not.

May 04, 2006

Health Concerns

In the last few weeks there's been a raft of serious health concerns turning up in my social circles among relatively young persons - we're talking about life-threatening conditions, as well as quality-of-life threatening ones. And I have to say it seems a bit ominous.

It doesn't seem to me as though it was so common for my parents, when they were my age, to have so many friends with tumors and expiring organs. I'm fairly certain that it wasn't so common for them to know so many people in their teens and twenties with such issues.

My mother began commenting on this well over a decade ago, when I and my friends and peers started having babies. Nearly everyone we knew had problems with their pregnancies and/or deliveries. Cancer, gestational diabetes, seriously premature labor, multiple miscarriages, anemia, hypertension, preeclampsia... and infant heart problems, lung problems, blood problems, immunity problems, growth problems, hormone problems, pituitary problems...

Let's not even get into the growing number of young children who are being diagnosed with, and often medicated for, what seems an exponentially growing multitude of neurological and behavioral disorders. It's too depressing.

Mom marvels that so many people are having these troubles. Her friends hadn't been similarly troubled during their pregnancies. Their babies nearly universally were just fine when they were born. Of course, the ones that weren't just fine probably weren't talked about as openly, but my mother is a sociable and sympathetic woman and her friends are close to her - when they have problems, my mom usually knows about them.

The discouraging thing for me is that I and my friends seem to be sharing the same types of health problems - and at nearly the same rate - with our parents, even though our parents are 20-30 years older than we are. Problems that used to be associated with advancing age are showing up at alarmingly rising rates among a younger and younger set of folks.

I'd love to report that 'healthy living' will protect people from experiencing these problems, but in the past week alone I've learned that several of the healthiest-living people I know have been diagnosed with various horrific cancers and heart problems - no amount of dark leafies and avoidance of hormones and antibiotics, no amount of excercise, no adherence to holistic practices seems to have been proof against this terrible tide of dis-ease. We are none of us safe... not even the youngest of us.

Finding cures is great. I'm all for it. But clearly we're doing something wrong. Isn't it at least as important to ferret out the sources of this tide as it is to discover the cures? Even if the answers to our questions turn out to be inconvenient and uncomfortable to hear?

Where should we start looking?

Stuff of the Day: So You Want To Fake A Foreign Accent...

May 02, 2006

Stubborn Blogspot Won't Wash Out

Having a bit of trouble with Blogspot lately, so it's been a couple days.

The biggest thing you've missed is the 96th birthday of my grandmother, recently moved from Chicago in order to be closer to her family (that would be us, for instance).

from right to left: my mom, grandma, and the lovely (and loving) Mary Ann, who came all the way from Chicago to wish grandma a Happy Birthday

Here's a teeny sample of the festivities. Grandma enjoyed herself, everyone in the building enjoyed her cake, and we enjoyed her enjoying everything.

from right to left: the Vampire, birthday flowers, mom, and me

A good time was had by all.

Happy Birthday, Grandma...
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