Sunday, June 29, 2008

Good Bye

It's the last day of the 2007-2008 Studio 3 season. We close after tonight's performance.

This season has been good, albeit grueling at times. I think we really started and ended the season with two wonderful shows-- hopefully that tradition continues next year!

I got word from Roy that I will only be working two weeks of Les Miserables, starting July 15th. So I will have two weeks off before then to contemplate my season and think of ways I can improve for next season.

I'm really looking forward to some time off, but this closing is bittersweet for me. I have had such a wonderful experience with this show, and I will miss everyone so much. Besides, I've been listening to kick-ass Irish music every night for two months, when is that going to happen again?

So goodbye Jon, Bennett, Dan, Phoebe and Sarah. I love you all very much, and hope you come back and work here often.

Megan O'Brien and Jenn Rose-- you ladies kick ass. Let's work together again soon!

And a very special goodbye to Angela, who was an amazing apprentice and a great friend this year. I'm going to miss you so much-- thank you for all of your hard work! Now go get a job in theater, young lady. You're an awesome stage manager. And come back and visit often.

I think my sadness is dampered by the enormous hangover I'm suffering through today. We spent all of our tip jar money (the offender had to put in a dollar for a dropped potato, a dropped cane, a missed lighting cue, a missed sound cue, or talking during Erie Canal-- we collected more than $50 throughout the run!) on booze and had a wonderful time on Dan's roof last night.

A cast and crew like this only comes along once every century. This was a rare and wonderful experience.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The First Step

I just mailed in our application to adopt a retired racing greyhound from the National Greyhound Adoption Program.

Just look at these sweet faces! We really can't wait to bring a dog into our home. And supposedly greyhounds, especially those who have been raced earlier in their lives, are absolutely the laziest, most docile breed of dog imaginable. I've heard them described as a "60mph Couch Potato", which I think works with our home atmosphere perfectly.

So keep your fingers crossed that we get approval... I am so excited to have a new family member!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Tribute the best girlfriend a woman could hope for.

This is just one example out of many, but I was having kinda of a shitty day yesterday. Money worries combined with people stresses combined with a major end of the season letdown resulted in Sara having a mini-meltdown.

My girlfriend came home from work prepared. She brought Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch and a package of Oreos. When she walked in the door, she greeted me with a kiss and some other sexy things which I will NOT go into on a blog read by my mother but I will state that I came back to the melting ice cream completely relaxed and happy...

It's a small example, but just goes to show you how caring and thoughtful my girl is. Not to mention the constant encouragement, support and love that I get from her every day. I'm so grateful to have her.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Green Grocer

Yet another garden update...

June has been relatively kind to my garden, giving it lots of heat and sun. While my lettuce is totally done and I managed to kill a cilantro plant, all of my other babies are doing quite well.

Look at the size of this pepper! I have only 3 peppers growing now, and this is my monster. I can't wait for them to ripen...

I ripped out my wilting lettuce and planted these voracious-looking peppermint plants-- they seem to be adjusting well. Mojitos at my place soon, everyone!

Herb garden... hey, does anyone know if my sprouted purple basil on the left is still okay to eat? I know sprouted lettuce is no good...

Look at these love apples! Each of my tomato plants have 6-7 fruits on them now-- I just can't wait to sink my teeth into them!

I had to re-pot the tomato plants; they had totally grown out of their little containers. Many thanks to Weas for container size suggestions. They seem to be adjusting well to their new homes, grateful for lots of root space!

The bike trellis is awesome-- note the out of control morning glories growing out of the left container. My cucumbers, however, are not so great. (That's them on the ground, center stage) Anybody have any ideas on how to revive them? They produced a ton of flowers, but most have them have fallen off and the leaves are wilting. I've moved them out of full sun, but... a bigger container? A magic spell? Help!

My wildflowers are still seedlings-- they aren't growing really fast. But I guess that's a good thing and I can look forward to late summer blooms!

A clematis flower through the bike basket.

And the growing continues.... I can't wait to taste the fruit of my labor!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Suspicious Minds

The long-time residents of South Philadelphia need to get a grip.

Yesterday the lovely Arizona Dakota invited us over to Che Manton for a little South Philly style BBQ. Her friends from the United Kingdom are visiting, and she wanted to give them a true taste of urban Americana summertime fun.

But how can they BBQ at Che Manton without a yard of any kind, you ask? In true South Philly style, Arizona lugged her grill to the sidewalk in front of their house, and after losing one tank of propane to opportunistic thieves, she used her bike lock to secure the second tank to the grill. Ah, South Philadelphia.

We were having a grand old time, eating some delicious grilled meats and enjoying our summer beers on the front stoop. The sun was shining, the pigeons were scavenging for scraps and the across-the-street neighbors had ceased screaming obscenities for a few moments, giving us a sense of city-block peace.

A sweet looking little old lady shuffled past us, glaring all the while. (Maybe she's a vegetarian? I thought) After she passed us, she paused for a moment, turned around and very distinctly said "SLUT".

We were stunned for a half second. Was she talking to us? And why would she say... of all insults... what????

The half second didn't last for very long. As one, we said variations upon "Excuse me? What did you just say?"

"I really don't want to get into a confrontation, but..." she said, approaching us rapidly.

"Then why did you say "slut"?" Amanda McKenna responded.

The woman then proceeded to go on some sort of crazy rant about the people who lived next to her (not coincidentally, that's Amanda's apartment) and the people who lived here (Arizona, Rachel and Dalice) having wild parties and dealing drugs and being up at all hours of the night and didn't they have a party on New Year's Eve that lasted until 4am? And there were people drinking at all hours and there are drug dealers who live on this street.

She left us with this parting shot: "My mother never would have lived on a street with RENTERS". Which was, by her intonation, a much more insulting word that her original "SLUT".

She shuffled off down the street, and Deb followed behind because she had to go to work. Of course the woman was waiting at her bus stop right by were Deb had locked her bike, so Deb got another earful from this woman. Deb stood her ground, telling the woman that she had no right to throw those terms at us and that she needed to apologize for being so nasty without provocation. But it became very apparent that this woman spends the majority of her time in her home, trapped in a web of her own paranoid delusions, perceiving slights and insults from this new generation of young people that she can't relate to.

And I think it really speaks to the people in our neighborhood as well. I'd like to go on record and say that I am tired of the stares and the looks and the muttering and the suspicions. Yes, we're new to the neighborhood. Yes, we look a little different from you. Yes, we're artists and therefore have different schedules and different ways of doing things. But we all have jobs, pets, hobbies. We pay our bills and live, love and have fun just like everyone else. I'm tired of this different-is-bad mentality.

Welcome to the new millennium, where just because we can't afford to buy houses in this overblown real estate market doesn't mean we aren't focused on our goals. Where people, regardless of gender or race or sexual orientation or age can succeed and form relationships and become adults together. Isn't this better than it was? Doesn't tolerance and love make so much more sense than suspicion and hate?

So a word to my next door neighbor who doesn't hide his hate for Deb & I and to that confused little old lady: GET OVER YOURSELF. Because we're here. And you can't stop time, no matter how hard you try.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Catching Up

I would like to begin by wishing this blog a happy first birthday!

I began this virtual diary/photobook/therapy one year ago, June 10th, 2007 with this blog. And what a year it's been. I'm so glad that this medium came into my life-- I've really enjoyed blogging and it's helped me through some really dark times to know that I have a huge circle of friends and family out there who are actually interested in the random things I type about.

And what a week it's been... I've been a little lax in the posting department lately, so I'll give a quick recap. We've really been... well...

Yeah, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

1. My show is rounding third, closing in a little more than a week. I'll be so sad to see this one go. The closing of this show also marks the end of my second season here at the Walnut.

2. I'm getting ready for my summer, but things are more up in the air than I'd really like them to be. Will I be working on Les Mis? Will I be working a Fringe show? Will I be able to get away for a mini-vacation? Stay tuned, we're still figuring all of this out.

3. Deb and I are getting super serious about budgetting-- we've decided that we will never get a dog if we don't do some responsible saving and planning. So today we sat down and did a hard budget, working on both long term and short term goals.

Short term: pay off car repair ($500.... gulp...) and get dog. Car repair will be paid off by Monday, dog in one month. We can DO THIS!

Long term: save $10,000 to put towards a down payment on a house. According to our most recent budget, we can do this in a year and a half. Let's DO IT!!!

4. I've decided that I need to focus my inner and outer turmoil and really take the bull by the proverbial horns. So I'm getting back into yoga hardcore, and I'd like to get into meditation as well. My mind needs a little quieting. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to approach meditation, especially for someone who's never done it before, I'd really appreciate them! I'm just envious of the serenity and calm that a lot of people who practice yoga and mediation seem to radiate, so I'm hoping to incorporate that into my own life. Plus I want to be limber enough to do this:

5. As a part of my quality-not-quantity approach to life, I have determined to spend less money in bars and more time with my friends. We all have lives and work and bullshit, but I feel that too many of us have drifted apart and it's time to reconnect.

So that's where I am right now... more blogs soon, I promise!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Monday, Monday... so good to me...

Sometimes the stars align to fomr the most perfect Monday ever-- like this past Monday.

We started with a bowl of sugary cereal at Dan's house-- my favorite was the Lucky Charms! (l-r Dan Kazemi, me, Steve Gravelle)

Then Deb and I took a long walk around our neighborhood, discovering this really cool paved park with a weeping willow.

We then saw the Sex and the City Movie (which we loved....) and met friends for Monday margaritas at Copa's. Pretty much the perfect day! We had so much fun and were totally refreshed and ready for work on Tuesday.

And on a totally unrelated note, I would like to introduce you to my NEW BIKE!!!!

I got her at Via Bicycles and she's basically the same as my old bike, just leaner, greener and MEANER! Don't mess with me! I've named her Che, after Catharine Slusar, Harry Philobosean and Erin Read who contributed to my bike fund. I can't thank you guys enough-- you made this wonderful bike possible for me.

Here's to hoping that we have more perfect Mondays on the horizen...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

It's official.

After much negotiation with our landlord, we are getting a dog!!!!

I'm so excited. I've already started to prepare... Betty's food and water are getting moved into the spare bedroom, and we're going to put a gate across the door so she can have a space of her own to escape from her new canine brother or sister. (And if we thought Betty had a bad attitude before...) We've told our good friends Lindsay & Carrie of The Monster Minders fame to keep an eye out for any good doggies that need a home, and we're planning many visits to local shelters to start meeting some pups!

We're looking for an older dog with a calm temperment that doesn't require a rigid schedule. Of course the dog has to be okay with cats (because the cat WON'T be okay with the dog...) and it would be lovely if the dog didn't have a lot of dander 'cause Deb has some allergy issues.

So if you know a dog that fits this description and needs a good home, let us know!

And soon enough you'll get to meet the newest member of our family!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Drink your juice, Shelby

Well, it finally happened to me here at the Walnut. I had to stop a show. Of course shows have stopped here before, but this was my first time being at the helm.

Don't get me wrong, it's happened to me lots before in other theaters. Power outtages, actors being stupid (I'll tell that story sometime), weather emergencies, heart attacks, poop accidents. I've stopped shows for all of these things. Okay, we didn't stop for the poop accidents. But I wish we had...

Last night's show was trucking along like usual-- we made it through the Potato Famine section and were heading to the Great Migration. Jon and Phoebe began their beautiful, quiet Anchor's Aweigh. There was a minor commotion in the southeast corner of the theater, which drew my attention a bit, but I figured it must be some old person getting up to go to the bathroom. The commotion continued, and the actors started to glance that way. Then a whole group of audience members stood up and started waving their programs frantically. My first thought?

"Oh, god, there's a mouse in the audience".

I yelled for Nicole, our house manager, and at that moment someone (an audience member? An actor? I'm getting conflicting reports) said "We have to stop the show!" I threw open the booth window and heard that a lady had passed out and could not be revived. I told Nicole to call 911, and brought up the house lights.

The audience mobilized as one-- it was lovely. In the time that I jumped out of the booth and came into the theater, they had moved the first row of seating away from the lady and had helped to lay her down across the second row of seating. Angela was quickly there with water and an ammonia tablet, which sadly she never got to use. The actors were milling about, concerned and confused, so I sent them backstage. The paramedics arrived quite quickly-- by this time, the woman was concious and talking. They asked her a few questions and then loaded her on the elevator and presumably to the hospital. The audience applauded her and shouted well-wishes as she was being wheeled out.

Apparently she was a diabetic who hadn't eaten since that morning and didn't have her medicine on her. Jeez, lady-- what did you think was gonna happen??

I made an announcement to the audience that we would start again from the top of Anchor's Aweigh and that we were about 10 minutes from intermission. Once I'd climbed back into my booth I gave Angela the cue to send them on and I restored the lights to the correct cue. The actors entered to hearty applause and after a few wise cracks from the always-inappropriate Jon Shade, Sarah gave them the chord to start. Phoebe shook off some giggles and we were off again. The show's energy was completely different-- the adrenaline was still pumping through everyone's veins!

It's a weird, wild thing to have something go wrong during a live performance, but I think that's why people still come to see theater. It's why I love it-- the thrill of the unexpected, the miracle of all of these elements coming together every night to engage and enthrall.

But this time there was only adrenaline for me: no fear, no doubt. I must be getting old when this sort of thing doesn't so much phase me as spur me into action.

It was still an exciting night to be working in theater, though.

Oh, yeah, and on a somewhat unrelated note, check out our (unintentionally) hilarious review here. Thanks, Toby!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Peppermint Patty

I've found my new drug of choice.

Relax, relax, it's perfectly legal. It's peppermint, but I have been consuming such vast quantities of this herb in tea form that I'm really glad it's so good for me. Otherwise I might really have a problem.

My booth up here in Studio 3 is either stiflingly hot or unbearably cold, depending on the whim of the air conditioning/heating gods. So on the hottest summer days, when I throw on a skirt and am drenched with sweat the time I get to work, I find myself shivering just a few minutes later as the air conditioning vent seems to be aimed directly at my bare legs in the booth.

My solution used to be coffee, but it was doing bad things to my tummy and the caffeine so late in the day meant that I didn't feel like sleeping until 2am or so. I've switched to peppermint tea, and things are pretty wonderful in Sara Digestive Land. Plus the warm liquid keeps me from slipping into hypothermia and I can drink as much of it as I want. (I'm staying hydrated! And by hydrated I mean I'm squirming in my seat as the last musical number of the act happens, hoping that my bladder of steel doesn't fail me... why doesn't my booth have a built-in toilet??!!)

But I've seriously noticed so many amazing things about myself lately-- my skin is more clear, I'm more relaxed and my breath is sweeter. I'm not sure I can attribute all of this to peppermint tea, but this sure did happen just when I made the switch from coffee, so...

I recommend Yogi Tea's version, it's my favorite. Now I'm going to start reading that book on meditation I just bought and be that much closer to finding my bliss. Baby steps, people.

First tea, then... THE WORLD!