Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bring Him Home

Monday we brought our boy home for good! We enlisted the help of our good friend and doggie auntie Amanda McKenna to sit in the backseat with the pup. After stopping by the Chik-fil-A for breakfast (Amanda had never been, can you imagine??!!) we headed out to the Northeast.

Upon our arrival, we got an extensive debriefing about all things greyhound from Bobbie, the wonderful adoption counselor. Then we loaded Hyde into the car and after a quick stop at Petsmart and then another run into Chik-fil-A for milkshakes (SHUT UP, we know we have a problem!) we brought him home!

Chillin' in the backseat with Auntie Amanda-- he drooled the whole way. Poor Amanda had doggie drool in places she never thought possible. ("Oh, man! That one went down my cleavage!!")

Once home, he took a little while to sniff everything and settle in, but quickly made himself at home:

Don't get up for me, lazy bones!

We have introduced him to a bunch of people and dogs, and he is remarkably responsive. He is super-chill: the yappiest dog, the fastest cat, the smallest baby gets a sniff and then he's not interested any more. We're very lucky that he is so responsive and calm.

Right now we are working on the "heel" command and basic house manners, like not jumping up on counters and leaving mommy alone when she's eating. But Hyde is very sweet and eager to please, so I am confident that he will learn the rules fast.

We are so happy to welcome Hyde into our home. A huge thank you to Amanda for all of her help on Monday morning.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Miserables

Yesterday marked my last day working backstage on Les Mis.

I found that I really missed being backstage-- there's a strange beauty to half light on scenery, people goofing off before they step onstage into another person's life, cues over headset that sound like clockwork. Plus the pace of working backstage is entirely different than the pace of the booth-- it's all about that tricky balance of following orders and making on-your-feet split second decisions of your own. A fun time, stretching those old muscles.

That being said, it was a hell of a week. It's getting to the end of a very long run for this cast, and everyone is tired. With Lori out of town and a bunch of people calling out of the show, the week was a blur of putting on understudies and figuring out random last minute emergencies. Of which there were many. The drama quotient was super-high, and the hysterics were a little wearing. I must say that I am glad I'm not finishing out the run-- two weeks was exhausting enough!

And it all came to a nasty head on Sunday, the last day I worked Les Mis. We had so many people out of the show that we actually had to put the stage management apprentice, Tim Markus, onstage. He was amazing. Not only did he look really handsome in his costumes, but he kept a very cool head and was awesome onstage-- showing lots of intention and great focus! He looked just like he'd been in the show since opening-- a true natural.

I was able to snag a few pictures from my backstage vantage:

Here he is in the ABC Cafe scene, intently listening to revolutionary scheming. (That's him sitting on the crate)

Marching in One Day More. (on the left, with Murph getting his back)

So a tribute to you, Tim-- not only did I have a blast with you backstage (I'll miss our stage management waltzes!) but you were incredible onstage. You're going to go far in this world-- the theater community needs more level-headed, low key, smart guys like you.

In other news, we brought Hyde home today. I'm way too tired to blog extensively about it, but I will say that he is amazing and wonderful and I'm so happy he's a part of our family. More on the pup very soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I can't stop...

Sorry for all of the doggie blogs lately. I just can't help myself. But just LOOK AT THIS FACE!

We took Hyde for another walk today. He's such a sweet boy.

I'm literally counting down the hours until we can take him home on Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


The newest addition to our family:

The very big, beautiful, sweet-natured Mr. Hyde. We met him yesterday, when we drove out to the kennel to give him a walk.

I look a little bit of a mess here, mostly because Deb woke me up ten minutes before we were supposed to leave. (Us theater people aren't so good with mornings...)

Look at these two cutie-pies!

Hyde is quite young, and a little skinny. We were told that we had to put some meat on his bones-- no problemo! (Have you seen our cat??) He is very sweet, and behaved himself quite well on our walk. His strength and speed are quite obvious, so he is going to require diligent training on our part, including learning how not to pull on his leash and the "sit" command. But he was very eager to please us, and by the end of the walk we had successfully taught him the "wait" and "okay" commands at crosswalks.

He was very responsive to both Deb and my commands, and even seemed to get a little attached! At the very end of the walk we got separated by cars parked on the sidewalk-- Deb with Hyde on one side, me on the other. He anxiously checked in with me between each car to make sure that I was still there. Very sweet.

The kennel itself is a really cool place-- we met lots of other beautiful greyhounds and watched them horsing around with each other in their outdoor run. They even board adopted greyhounds there when owners are on vacation! We met some very sweet boarders and noted the huge difference between the dogs waiting for adoption and the ones that have been living in a home for a while. The racing dogs have quite an adjustment to make, but their sweet temperaments and high intelligence make it a task worth doing.

We plan to walk Hyde several more times before we officially pick him up and bring him home on Monday. It's been really great getting to know him on neutral ground. We are going to want to socialize Hyde as much as possible, especially in the beginning, so let me know if you have some free time next week and want to hang out!

And on a totally unrelated note, I must add that last night was a hell of a night to be working backstage. Ho-ly crap. It's interesting, though, observing people in their highest moments of stress. True colors really come out. And boy did they last night. Huge kudos to my Deborah and Tim Markus, the coolest cats under pressure I've seen in a very long time. You guys rocked it out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jailhouse Rock

I had a great weekend-- my little brothers and my new sister in law Maria came to visit! They saw Les Miserables on Saturday and we ate our way around town over the weekend. On Monday we decided to play tourist and take a trip to Eastern State Penitentiary. In the almost 5 years I've been here, I haven't been to the prison, despite a few friends who work the Haunted House there. (In my defense, I do really, really hate haunted houses, though)

But I can see why they do a mean haunted house here:

Not to mention the "ghost cats" of Eastern State:

Deb checks out a cell block:

Yes, we just had to take this picture-- Jonathan looks good behind bars!

Me, Maria and Deb share a cell:

Despite the beastly hot temperatures, we had a blast. Even more fun was our drinking night on Sunday after the show-- we all got together on the porch and played drinking games until we stumbled into our beds.

This is what a couple of rounds of 21 and Kings does to Joseph:

We had such a fun time-- I think this was the first time we have all hung out together as adults without Mom or Dad. It's so nice to have siblings that you actually have a lot of fun with. And Maria and Deb are able to hold their own, which is very important in this family!

And in other awesome news... drumroll please... we got a call from the Greyhound Rescue saying that we are approved to get a dog!!! He's a two year old male with red and white coloring who "loves meeting new people". We pick him up this coming Monday at 2:30pm. We are so thrilled. We want to socialize him as much as possible in the beginning, so stay tuned-- we're probably going to have some sort of meet and greet very soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Clear, Concise, Correct

That's what they taught us in school, anyway. The real world is somewhat different.

It is a bit of a wake up call-- urging me to look at my own personal style, making sure that I am communicating effectively. Because I'm seeing what happens when communication breaks down, when one becomes so wrapped up in the rituals of years and years head down, rote and boredom combining into a vaguely untranslatable system.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back in Black

I'm headed back to the Walnut Street Theatre today, after two weeks of vacation... er... unemployment. I'll be covering Les Miserables for the next two weeks while Lori, the stage manager, takes a vacation.

To celebrate a return to backstage, I treated myself to a new pair of shoes:

I've always thought that all-black Chucks were the quintessential backstage shoe. And in high school, only the coolest kids had them. It's time for me to be stylin' like a cool kid backstage. I haven't worked backstage in a very long time- I'm used to being in the booth. But I must admit that I've missed the backstage pace, and especially in a union house like the Walnut, where I will not be touching anything, merely directing traffic and passing out tissues. Good times.

Of course every good backstage stage manager needs a flashlight, and mine is long gone after years of not being used. So I had to pick one up today:

I'm ready, Les Mis. Let's do this.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Extended Family

I know, I know, the show's closed. But I must admit that I miss The Irish... And How They Got That Way an awful lot.

When you do one show after another, for seasons upon seasons, you learn not to get attached. In fact, you learn to celebrate when a show closes. And look forward to the next one. It's a great priviledge in theater to be working with a rotating group, to never have to work with the same people for years and years. There's always someone new and fresh, or old friends that come back. No show is ever the same, no matter how many times you've done it before. Each cast has it's own unique chemistry, no matter how many of the individuals you've worked with before. And that's what makes a show like the Irish so magical-- it all fell into place with a perfection that is very rare. The rehearsal process was fun, tech was a breeze, and the run of the show was wonderful. The piece itself was easy to watch and work every night, and the cast was always a delight.

So Jon, Dan, Bennett, Phoebe, Sarah and Angela-- I miss the shit out of you, but I must say thank you for such a wonderful experience. I will treasure it forever.

Thanks to Jon Shade for the photograph.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Fruits of My Labor

Goodness me, I can't believe my show closed a week ago. Unemployment is very weird. I hardly know what to do with myself, but I've managed to fill the week with a ton of catching up with old friends for drinks and getting the house in some semblance of order because hopefully we will have a new family member joining us shortly! The Greyhound Rescue folks called us at the beginning of the week and said that they've received our application and are now in the process of calling our references. Fingers crossed-- they've already cashed our deposit check, so hopefully that's a good sign!

My, my, how fast things grow in the garden when it's hot and humid! The plants are quite jungle-like these days, and while I was cursing the amount of water lugging I'm doing these days I couldn't help but notice....

Our tomatoes are starting to ripen! Each plant has about 10 pieces of fruit on it so far, and I'm starting to see some red!

Or lots of red, as the case may be-- this guy will be ready to pick in a day or two. Can't wait to taste my very own homegrown tomato!

Even my heirloom green tomatoes are ripening-- this guy will be ready in a few days as well!

See how big and bushy the tomato plants have grown? And if you'll notice at the lower right hand corner, we've decided to add a few "friends" to the garden. My garden was looking very respectable and nice, now I'm trying to make it more appealing to passing elves and other sorts of fairy creatures.

I'm even seeing a few streaks of red on my peppers-- and holy crap, they're big!

The wildflowers have really started growing like... well, weeds. I can't wait to see what blooms pop up!

Even the geraniums are starting a second round of blossoming, after being carefully deadheaded.

The bike trellis has gotten a few more pieces of decoration, and check out those crazy morning glories on the left!

My clematis continues to wind itself around the bike, and is proving to be a very hearty blossomer.

And we've finally added a Green Man to the garden. More on him soon....