Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Errata

The May Queen and I have safely arrived in Michigan, and are currently ensconced at the in-laws. Visions of building a snow fort are surely dancing through MQ's dreams, so you know what we'll be doing in the morning. The May Queen is continuing to earn her inherited title of "The Director" (which she took over when my grandmother died over 4 years ago... yes, we knew even then...) by declaring things like "We will each open two presents, and then Mommy will make scrambled eggs while I play with my newly opened toys, and then we will open the rest of the presents." Which is pretty much how it went down. The Big Guy and I got a kick out of opening all the presents she got for us... things of "hers" that she wrapped for us... many of which were ours to begin with (like the Detriot Lions stuffed animal she stole from her daddy years ago). She did take into account our tastes, though. She gave me several shark story books. Even though I didn't win over at Magpies, The Big Guy got me a Wii fit! Or will get me one... as soon as the stores restock. He also is having an apron made for me... I expressed that I wanted one that went over the shoulders and not my neck (that always bothers me) and couldn't find one... and it turns out that a woman at our church makes aprons. How cool is that? So I am pleased as punch with my soon to be arriving gifts. After opening presents I packed us up, and we nearly didn't make it to the airport due to INSANE traffic caused by a wee bit of fog and overacting bridge officials, but we made it, and The May Queen has already scaled the snowy mountains a few times, at 10:30 at night, and who can blame, her really? What an adventure for a little southern girl.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Welcome, Jesus

One of the things about Christmastime that I love is hearing the Christmas songs on the radio. I find it astonishing to hear the old hymns and such great theology, linking the reason we celebrate Christ's birth to his earthly death, on the radio. Nonstop. (OK, in between "Baby It's Cold Outside" and the ever manipulative "Christmas Shoes")

But tonight a song, much newer, was sung during worship, and I think it just says it all for me (particularly the last bit... gets me every time) ...

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home
Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence

Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Welcome to our World, by Chris Rice

Merry, Merry Christmas to all of you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A letter to the man in red

Dear Santa,

There is no THING that I need this Christmas, and only a few THINGS I might put on a wish list: pants that reach my ankles, an apron, maybe a Wii fit. I'm sure your busy elves could make them, or head to mall and find them there, if that's easier.

But what I'd really like for Christmas, besides the always elusive world peace and 4 extra hours in a day, aren't things you can make in your workshop or buy at the big box stores. They aren't easily wrapped in shiny paper and topped with a bow. I'd like JOY this Christmas. I'd like GRACE this Christmas. I could go for an extra large serving of CONTENTMENT. And how about some LOVE and HOPE, while you're at it. Some FAITH would be nice, too.

I wish, Santa, that you could find a way to give those things to all the people you visit Christmas Eve. That you would slide down their chimney, eat the cookies on the plate, and leave in their place a heaping lot of joy, grace, contentment, love, hope and faith.

But now that I think about it, Santa, it seems to me that the very first Christmas those WERE the gifts that were given. To all of us through all the ages. That those gifts have already been given. But they are lost under the pile of THINGS... and not just the new things in shiny packages under the Christmas tree in December, but the things that fill our lives all year round. The things we use to push away these gifts. To ignore these gifts. To fill the hole that the lack of these gifts has left in our lives.

And so we write letters to you and tell you what we wish for. We long to believe in something so good, so steadfast and so generous as you Santa.

No offense, Santa, but you're a poor replacement for the original star of this show we call Christmas.

As I write this I'm starting to wonder how I might give these things to others for Christmas. I'm not sure I can wrap them up and hand them to them with a smile and a "Merry Christmas," but I'm pretty sure that I know some people who could use some love. And some grace. I definitely know some people who need hope. It won't be easy to hand it to them. It will take a little longer. It will take time and relationship and probably quite a lot of commitment on my part. It will cost more than I'm used to spending, and not necessarily in dollars. It won't end on December 25th. But it will be a gift that keeps on giving.

And Santa? For me? I think that maybe writing this letter was your gift to me. Thanks for the reminder.

I wish you joy, grace, contentment, love, hope and faith. Merry Christmas!


Painted Maypole

This post is a Monday Mission. This week's Mission is to write a post in the style of a letter to Santa. Have fun! If you play along, post a link in the widget below:

*No Mission next week! See you in 2009 with a new slate of Missions.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bookish Advice

For Magpie, who challenged us (ages ago) to make fun little stacks with our books, playing with the titles. (Alejna reminded me)

In case you can't read them...
Christopher Durang Explains it All for You
How to Clean Practically Anything
1001 Ways to be Romantic
Raising Self Reliant Children
The Animal in You
Friends are Forever
Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them
Character Above All

(is there anything else anyone needs to know?)

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for all my bloggy friends to participate in this Monday's Mission, which is to write a post in the form of a letter to Santa. So slide down their chimneys and help them type up some clever "Dear Santa" posts, would you? Please?

Painted Maypole

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Tips

Because I know you look to me for all things domestic.

done laughing yet?

OK... my FAVORITE tip is this: take pictures of all your holiday decorations, and then when you pack them up at the end of the season pack them by room, and tuck a print out of your pictures in the box. Then, next year, if you have a little bit of time you can grab a "living room" box and decorate quickly, and you don't have to stop and think "where did I put this angel?" This makes it so much easier than my old way of putting it ALL out on the dining room table and trying to decide where it went, and then putting it all back on the dining room table and packing it up randomly.

Stock up on sales - both pre and post holiday. I found Webkinz at buy one get one free, and let me tell you, every child who's birthday party we attend next year will be receiving a Webkinz (and around these parts, Webkinz are Bday gold!). No more running around for a present. ALSO... not only do I buy all my cards and Christmas wrapping paper at 70% off or more in post holiday sales - but I buy plain paper that works year round - I have red, purple, green, silver and gold that I bought dirt cheap because they were on holiday clearance, but can be used for any event. Hooray, me.

Little kids do not mind used presents. If it's not in a box it just makes it easier to play with immediately. Stock up at garage sales and the like year round. My attic always has a box or two of presents for later that I picked up for a buck. Frugal AND earth friendly.

Do your parents really want one more thing to dust? Probably not. Do something nice in their name (help out a family who needs food and presents, give to a charity, volunteer your time for a cause they appreciate) and write them a nice letter telling them what you did for them and why. Our parents LOVE this. We tuck the letter in with a small ornament, and each year as they decorate the tree they reread all the letters.

Christmas cards: I love getting Christmas cards from friends, but just a plain card signed with your name gets little response. I actually enjoy the cheesy "this is what we did this year" letters, the pictures, and any hand written note is fantastic. No matter how much you slaved over picking the perfect card, it's just a folded piece of glittery cardstock until you make it personal.
ALSO: if you scrapbook those cards make great embellishments for your pages.

And finally, cheesecake Hershey Kisses are only available during the holidays. Buy them now. Trust me. mmmm.....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Painted Maypole has succumbed to peer pressure.

Painted Maypole finally joined facebook. Because she has all this extra time to kill (cough, cough).

Painted Maypole is trying to resist looking at the long lists of friends of friends to find people she also knows.

Painted Maypole has received requests from people whom she could swear she has never met, but apparently we have friends in common. Painted Maypole doesn't quite know how to handle this. (what is the internet etiquette there?)

Painted Maypole is now "friends" with people she had only a passing aquaintance with in college. Twelve years ago. She's not sure she cares what they are doing now, frankly. Unless they can get her a paid acting gig.

Painted Maypole plans to keep her blogging and facebooking separate, since she blogs anonymously, and so although she truly does consider you all to actually BE her FRIENDS, she is politely declining all of your kind offers to "friend" her on facebook. At least for the time being.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I need rest

Sung to the (edited) tuned of Be Our, from Disney's Be@uty and the Be@st, the show Painted Maypole is currently rehearsing:

Painted Maypole:
I need rest! I need rest!
In my bed would be the best
Let me say that every day
my nerves are frayed, is this a test?
Do a show! Now rehearse!
Try to memorize this verse!
It's hard work for this tired Mama
(does that last line need a comma?)
I must sing! I must dance!
(Do I have any clean pants?)
How can I expect to clean and shop and rest?
The director shouts "Encore!"
so I go back for more
but I need rest
I need rest
I need rest!

You need rest! You need rest!
For your health, it is the best!
Take some time to go unwind
when you're not here, go get some rest!

Painted Maypole:
Are you nuts? I'm always here!
And my "to do" list's a thing to fear
Shopping, cooking, sending cards out
just the cleaning can make me pout

He'll lift you up, way up high
You'll kick your legs up in the sky
Now just smile! We want the audience impressed!

I have so much to do
is that one kick or two?
I need some rest
I need rest!
I need rest!

(dance break wherein Painted Maypole is lifted above some gentleman's head, and then does a complicated mug banging combination, bruising the dilly daylights out of her knuckles...)

Painted Maypole:
I need rest! I need rest!
Someone please hear my request
In these 4 months it's been 4 shows and oh
Am I obsessed?
Comedy, tragedy,
I do it all, as you can see
While my mood just keeps yo-yoing
One show closes, I keep going...
Stage by stage, cast by cast
And I ask "is this the last?"
And if I'm honest with myself I must confess
When it's all said and done
It's been a lot of fun
still I need rest!
I need rest!
I need rest
Please, I need REST!

(After ending with a big kick line finish - with an enormous plate strapped to her back, no less - Painted Maypole collapses to the ground and begins snoring)

This musical post has been sponsored by Monday Missions. This weeks Mission is to write a post in the style of a song (rewrite the lyrics to a familiar tune). Write you own little ditty and post a link in the widget below.

And be sure to join us next week, when our Mission will be to write a post in the style of a letter to Santa.

(as always, I'm tinkering with show names to try to be less google-able. thanks)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Proposition 8 the musical

Upset about California's proposition 8? Worried about the economy?

Check out this (short) star studded musical.

Didn't you know that Musical Theatre was sure to solve the world's problems?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Big News

Kat is pregnant, and her post about "The Reveal" (and the picture of her husband should not be missed...)had me thinking about when I found out I was pregnant with The May Queen.

It was my first month off the pill, and I wasn't holding my breath. The day before my period was supposed to start was a Saturday, and I flew to New York City to do some publicity performances for the book of plays with me on the cover. I remember that night at a restaurant on Staten Island wondering whether or not I should order a glass of wine. I didn't.

The period didn't come. It didn't come. Then, several days later, I had some minor cramps. Ah, here it comes I thought. I had a glass of wine at a reception. It still didn't come.

Our little publicity tour ended and I went to stay with a dear friend just outside the city for a few days. I came down with a serious stomach bug that I had caught from another cast member and stayed home all day while my friend went to work. I walked to the drug store and bought some pepto bismal and a pregnancy test. It was Friday. I was 6 days late.

When my friend came home from work I told her I was pregnant. She cried. She immediately bent over and began whispering through my belly to the unborn child. To this day she will not tell me what she said.

I wanted to tell The Big Guy in person, and when I talked to him on the phone the next day I kept the conversation short. I was near to bursting with wanting to tell him.

On Sunday I flew home. At this point I had known I was pregnant for 48 hours, and only my friend knew. The Big Guy picked me up from the airport. But I didn't want to tell him in the car. So I waited until we were home (that may have been the longest 20 minutes of my life). And standing in the tiny kitchen of the house we were moving out of in a week... I looked in his eyes and told him we were going to be parents.

This Monday's Mission (and tell me, why wouldn't you accept it?) is to write a post in the style of a song (rewrite the lyrics to a familiar tune) - one of my favorites from my early days of posting (click on the link to see last year's entries).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2 words I never thought I'd say in Louisiana : SNOW DAY!

I don't think satsuma trees are used to having snow on them...

Just before 7am my husband came in and said "Wake up The May Queen and tell her to look out the window. It's snowing!"

Soon after, this was the view out of our front door. MQ stood at the window watching the enormous wet flakes swirling to the ground and declared "This is the best day EVER!"

As soon as we determined that school was, indeed, cancelled, we bundled up and headed out to play.
Again MQ yelled "This is DEFINITELY the best day ever!"

I taught MQ and the neighbors how to roll the snow to make a snowman.It snowed for about 4 hours before it started to sleet. We went in and out playing and warming up, drying our meager winter clothes in the dryer. Many, many cups of hot chocolate are being consumed.

our house

This is a day we'll be talking about for the rest of our lives.

(Can you believe that 2 days ago it was 70 degrees outside?)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Magic of the Dressing Room

Much has been said and written about the magic of the stage... that fabulous fusion that happens when you add lights and costumes and sets and sound to the work the actors have been doing on a bare and dusty stage for weeks. There's no doubt that it's exciting.

But often there's a kind of magic that happens for the actors in the dressing room. Suddenly, after weeks of rehearsals where there is a bit of chit chat before and after being on stage, where actors who aren't on sit quietly backstage or in the house looking over lines or reading books or occasionally in whispered conversations... suddenly, they are in a dressing room together for an hour or so each night before performance. There's hair to be done and make up to apply and bonding to occur. It's when you find out about the quiet people in your cast. It's when you find out a LOT about the not so quiet people in your cast. Jokes are told and laughs are shared and hardships are commiserated.

Occasionally a cast will manage to create cohesion during the rehearsal process. But far more often it happens under the bright lights of a makeup mirror, as everyone prepares to work together to pull this thing off. And even if you have a small part, you suddenly feel like a vital part of the show.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too*

Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too
sit on my waist like a pile of goo
"Go away!"
"Be Gone"
"What can I do
with Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too?"

Iggle loved chocolate and Jiggle drank brew
and Wiggle ate peanuts and mulligan stew
as larger
and larger
and larger they grew
Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too

Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too
Over my waistband, I can't see my shoes
"Work out!"
"Step up!"
"Pilates, too"
farewell Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too

Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too
Can someday be "those blokes I knew"
by a Wii Fit so new
Old Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, Wiggle Me too

*with apologies to the incomparable Shel Silverstein

This post is a Monday Mission AND an entry to win a Wii Fit, because the home elliptical machine is getting boring and unchallenging, and I can't make regular dates with a workout buddy, but if I had an accountability partner hooked up to my television... surely Iggle Me, Jiggle Me, and even Wiggle Me, too would flee in fear. Or at least iggle, jiggle and wiggle a bit less.

This week's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a poem (a favorite of Mary G from back when I was just reading the Missions and not hosting them!)

if you are feeling poetic, place a link in the widget below:

upcoming missions:
12/15 - a song (rewrite the lyrics to a familiar tune) - one of my favorites
12/22 - a Letter to Santa (this is not a nostalgic mission, but Joy suggested it and I couldn't resist.)
12/29 - no Mission - see you next year!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Santa's been a bad boy

The show I'm in - you know, the one about the amazing occurrence on a specific street in NYC - opened this weekend. Very, very briefly I appear in the scene before the Macy's parade as a Rockette, and my costume is causing quite the stir backstage. I decided, along with the gentleman playing the drunk Santa who gets fired in the same scene, to take some fun pictures backstage before the show. He claims he's going to use this one for his Christmas card. And yes, I'm holding a whip.

Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a poem - a favorite of Mary G from back when I was just reading the Missions and not hosting them!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Visions of tree chopping dance in my head

Today the Maypole clan headed north to brave the wilds and find the perfect vegetation to hold our holiday lights and treasured ornaments.

We climbed into ye olde minivan and drove about a mile before pulling into the lot of the depot of the home. We glanced over the rows of bundled trees. We spied a tree that appeared to be appx 8 feet in height. Bravely, the orange clad woman assisting us cut the string and shook the tree so that it's branches would fall down and behold, it was a perfect specimen, with nary a bald spot to be seen. The May Queen and I exchanged a high five and thus the deal was sealed (well, that and a swipe of the credit card).

After tying our treasure to the roof (and a brief stop at the store to pick up a last minute present for a birthday party tomorrow) we returned to our domicile and placed the enormous tree in a stand in our living room. It nearly touches the ceiling. It is straight as can be and clearly the best tree we've purchased perhaps ever. All done within about 10 minutes at the Home Depot.

hail the conquering heros

I have dreams (delusions?) of going to one of those lovely farms where you wander through the fields, pick your tree, and then cut it down. And maybe some day it will happen. But when I'm lucky to have one night free all month (ah... theatre...) and those farms are only open on the weekend? I'm thankful for being able to buy a tree from a parking lot! And thankful that this year we found one we all agreed on almost instantly (last year it took us hours and several lots).


We're letting it relax a bit and will decorate it on Saturday. I love getting out all the old ornaments and remembering who gave them to us or when they were made. It was a great tradition in my house growing up, with Christmas carols on the stereo. It's one of my favorite Christmas "tasks."

I just hope it won't lose all of its needles within the week. Which seems possible, as the rest of it has gone far too well.

gratuitous elf shot

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You'll be older too And if you say the word I could stay with you.

Well, tonight it happened. The cheating. On the way home from rehearsal. Infidelity. And I did not toss the book on CD out the window and into the lake, although I thought about it.

Although I listened to the lead up with growing dread and anger, I will keep listening to the book. I like the writing, and I am curious as to what the author will do now. Before the transgression occurred the female character sat at a table with 2 older ladies and confessed her feelings, and they spoke with her about their own extramarital loves; what they did and didn't do about them, and what they regretted and didn't regret. I thought that perhaps we don't, in our lives, speak of these things enough in an honest way so as to support a friend though a similar temptation. So... we'll see. But I'm disappointed that the novel has gone that direction.

Earlier in the day, however, I saw some things that strengthened my hope in marriage, in sticking it out. As I entered the mall an elderly couple was leaving. The gentlemen held his wife's elbow, and around her other arm dangled a Victoria's Secret bag. Yes, perhaps it was a gift for someone else, but I prefer to think that they had just gone in and picked out something special together. Then later I sat next to a couple in the movie theatre (Australia - highly recommended...). They were at least in their 70s, and throughout the three hour movie they held hands, and left the theatre the same way.

THAT is where I hope to be in 40 years, with The Big Guy by my side.

recognize the lyrics I used for the title?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And to Think I Forgot it on Mulberry Street

dedicated to The May Queen, the elephant who always forgets

When I leave school to ride on home
Mom always asks of me
"What did you do in school today?
(is this school worth its fee?)"

At recess I did run about
and played I was a jet
But now I don't remember so:
"Oh... I forget"

And though I learned a lot about
making a robot
All I can think to say right now:
"Um... I forgot"

Then Mom asks after friends she knows,
and new ones I have met
And though Michelle was really nice:
"Oh...I forget"

In music we had lots of fun
dancing the Turkey Trot
but when I think back on my day:
"Um... I forgot"

When Mother asks me questions
I know I will regret
but somehow all I know to say is:
"Oh... I forget"

This post is a publication of Monday Missions, Inc. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a children's story - one of Joy's favorite past missions. (if you click on the "children's story" link it will take you to the one I did last year, and you can get the links to all the others from that (you'll have to click on the "here" link). It was actually a rather popular one, so you can see several examples for inspiration.

If you write your own Children's Story Monday Mission, please post a link in the widget below.

December is chock full of nostalgic missions. Start planning yours now. Your missions, should you choose to accept them, are to write posts in the style of...
12/8 - a poem - a favorite of Mary G from back when I was just reading the Missions and not hosting them!
12/15 - a song (rewrite the lyrics to a familiar tune) - one of my favorites
12/22 - a Letter to Santa (this is not a nostalgic mission, but Joy suggested it and I couldn't resist.)
12/29 - no Mission - see you next year!

Friday, November 28, 2008

The latest Halloween post ever

I am just now uploading the pictures from Halloween... because I am way behind like that. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of my little Halloween Kitty...



December's Nostalgic Monday Missions begin THIS coming Monday with a mission to write a post in the style of a children's story - one of Joy's favorite past missions. (if you click on the "children's story" link it will take you to the one I did last year, and you can get the links to all the others from that (you'll have to click on the "here" link). It was actually a rather popular one, so you can see several examples for inspiration.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Season of Thanks

I, like you, have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day. And I, perhaps like you, spent a fair amount of the day grumbling... at least in my head.

I'm having a hard time reconciling the Thanksgiving in my brain with the one that actually happens, and this morning I felt awfully grumpy about the ordinariness of the day.

But by now, the end... as I sit sipping a glass (er...what number is it?) of wine and still stuffed to the gills from our 3:30 dinner, I am thankful for our quiet and relaxing day. Thankful for the fried turkey we bought from our church as a fundraiser to feed children in Haiti. Thankful for our friend who came to eat with us, bringing several yummy dishes. Thankful for my grandfather who is staying with us all this week, and today told stories about meeting my grandmother and getting the dog they had when my mother grew up. Thankful that The May Queen is old enough to play games like Uno, and that we could all gather around the table and laugh and enjoy each other's company.

It's not a loud bustling Thanksgiving. It was quiet, and almost ordinary. A sharing of a meal by a small group of family and friends. And that is truly something to be grateful for.

I am also very thankful for this lovely decoration, which I won a few weeks ago over at Potted Frog. The photo does not do it justice, particularly with the sun shining on it like that, but it's a wonderful and warm welcome to my home, hanging just inside the door, and will be a reminder for years to come of how thankful I am for all of you... my bloggy friends. And Louise... THANKS! I love it!

A season of thanks... a season of blessings... a season of love

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm listening to a book on CD as I drive to and from rehearsal. The book has been recommended to me, and I know it's been made into a made for cable movie, but I otherwise don't know a lot about it. I'm enjoying it, however... I'm afraid that the main character is about to have an extra marital affair.

I hate to sound all prudish and all, but I really hate it. It makes me want to chuck the CD out the window and into the lake as I drive across the bridge.

I'm hoping that's not where it's going.

I'm so sick and tired of novels and movies that all revolve around affairs. I've seen some movies and read some books I really enjoyed that have this as a central theme, but I find, particularly as I get older and become an"old married woman", that I have less and less tolerance for it. I'm tired of characters who don't value their marriage enough, I'm tired of being led to sympathize with the people who cheat, I'm tired of it being seen as romantic and daring and interesting. Show me the struggle in the relationship, show the temptation and the resistance, show the price that is paid for staying, and also the reward. Or show a woman who gets out of a bad relationship WITHOUT having an affair to do it.

Obviously there are some great works of fiction that I do, indeed, appreciate with this theme. But I'm tired of "bored wife (or battered wife, or ignored wife, or...), blah, blah, blah, has an AFFAIR! And it's hot! and interesting! and we've led you to sympathize with her, and now you can't decide if you can judge her actions or not!" (or you, know, the male version of the same story)

Anyone else feel this way?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


5 hours of babysitting
1.5 tanks of gas
7 missed hours of sleep
5 missed evenings of bedtime stories
$10 in bridge tolls
7 1/2 hours of travel
20 hours in a dark theatre

-The price I paid for the last 7 days worth of performances and rehearsals (and I missed some in there, because I was home sick)

Golly, is it any wonder I'm feeling burnt out?

This post has been a Monday Mission. This week's mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a Bill. If you participate please drop a link in the widget below.

Your Missions for the Nostalgic Month of December are to write posts in the style of:
12/1 - a children's story - one of Joy's favorites
12/8 - a poem - a favorite of Mary G from back when I was just reading the Missions and not hosting them!
12/15 - a song (rewrite the lyrics to a familiar tune) - one of my favorites
12/22 - a Letter to Santa (this is not a nostalgic mission, but Joy suggested it and I couldn't resist.)
12/29 - no Mission - because no one else told me a favorite past mission AND I will be out of town. So there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Funny business

We've been getting small audiences for the current show. The smallest we had was four. Tonight we had five. One night we got up over twenty. That was pretty exciting.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful, or diva-ish, but it's really hard to perform for a small audience. Part of the joy of live theatre is the symbiosis between actors and audience. It's a shared experience.

Never is this more apparent than in comedy. Comedy needs a crowd. Most people will not laugh out loud if they are watching a movie in their living room. But put them in a crowded movie theatre and they laugh hysterically. This is why sitcoms add a laugh track or perform in front of a (laughing) studio audience- to give the viewer at home the perception of being in a crowd.

Small audiences are often afraid to laugh. They worry that if they bust out laughing they will disturb the person next to them, or bother the actors on stage. They worry they will laugh at the wrong time. In a crowd, if several people are laughing you have a buffer.

My advice to you as an audience member at a live performance? Laugh if it is funny. Please, please, PLEASE laugh. Often all it takes is one person to get the others to let loose a little chuckle. In fact, they used to have a person hired by the theatre to laugh at all the jokes. (Likewise there were people to lead the applause, etc.)

Look, I'll forgive you if your cell phone rings (as long as you don't ANSWER it) or you open a noisy candy wrapper if you would just. please. laugh.

Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a bill. If it's funny... I promise I'll laugh!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Through the fog (aka Brain Drain)

So apparently there was all this hubbub in the blogosphere over Motrin this weekend, and it WASN'T because I had to take so much Ibuprofen in order to suppress my fever so I could perform.


I'm slowly coming out of my sick-induced fog and seclusion (you know, except for those public performances and one Murder Mystery Party that I helped planned and was given the night off of my current show so I could do and how on earth could I miss THAT?) and trying to reintegrate. Apparently the world kept spinning without me.


I did just read, though, that some 8 year old boy apparently shot his father and his father's co-worker. But no, we don't need tighter gun control. The report I read said that there were no signs of abuse in the home. You know, EXCEPT for the fact that (as reported in the same story) the boy had access to the multiple guns in the house and would play with them without his father's knowledge. EXCEPT for the fact that this 8 year old boy was home alone when the two men returned from work. I suppose it's possible this kid really is a sociopath or something, but I suspect he was just really poorly parented and now his whole life will be ruined because of it. And he's 8.


I was listening to NPR on the way to rehearsal tonight, and Bill Ayers was on Fresh Air. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear the whole interview, but oddly enough he didn't seem to have any close ties to President-Elect Obama OR be the "terrorist" the McCain/Palin Campaign made him out to be.


When I did a spell check just now blogger didn't mind "Obama" at all but thought "Palin" was a suspect word.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Totally Tubular Mystery Party


1. Everybody Dress Up Tonight
2. Totally Trivia
3. You dropped a clue on me, baby
4. not so Safe to Dance
5. Eat It
6. Everybody was Verbal Sparring
7. Rubik's Cube to the Head
8. Who killed Alligator Dundee?
9. Careless Accusations
10. Pretty in Pink cake
11. Confessions
12. Celebration
13. You can leave your ears on

Lead vocalists: Alligator Dundee and Jessica Bunny

Backup vocals: Ladonna, Lindy Lauper, Toni Oregeno, Debbie Gribson, Nozzy Nozzborn and Wee Pee Vermon

The band: Danny Son on drums, Nork from Pork on "the special button", Louie Skullnick on keyboard, and El Vampira on Guitar

Produced by Polly Abdool and Spunky Brewster at Scabface studios in Miami, FL.

Special thanks to the makers of Ibuprofen for the suppression of fever and Howard Scott for special effect howls.
Alligator Dundee, Jessica Bunny and this post appear courtesy of Monday Missions. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form of CD liner notes. If you write a post, please link to your post in the widget below. (and yes, we did a murder mystery dinner party this weekend, with an 80s theme, and it was like, totally awesome, dude).

Join us next week when your mission will be to write a post in the style of a bill.

Also, I am declaring December a nostalgic month. Let me know what your favorite past mission was (one you want to try again, or one you missed and wish you had done) and I'll resurrect a month's worth of past missions. You can browse through all my past missions here. December Missions will be listed next Monday!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

An angel gets her wings

I have been tagged TWICE for the 6/6 meme - you know, the one where you show the sixth picture in your sixth folder. I decided to go to the backups of the old computer, since this computer is new enough that all the pictures are really recent.

This is a production shot from when I did Angels in America in 2004. I'm the Angel... in case the large wings coming out of my back didn't clue you in. This is the very last scene from Part I: Millennium Approaches. I won a best supporting actress award for that part... the first trophy I ever won, and it sits proudly on a shelf in my living room. I have loved this play since I first read it in 1994, and was thrilled to be a part of it (and although I loved playing the Angel, my heart belongs to Harper... she lives somewhere inside me and hopefully some day I'll get the chance to let her out...). I never got to do Part II because they waited 6 or so months between productions, and I moved. Alas. When I first created this blog I wanted to call it "The Great Work Begins" which is a quote from Part II, but the name was already taken. (and so I ended up with Painted Maypole instead. It seems my brain was stuck on phrases from plays I've done).

Random memories: Everyday in the green room before the show someone would start singing the theme song from Cheers, and the whole cast would join in. Also, I used to do the Wiggles ' Cold Spaghetti dance to crack up the guys in the cast... I did it once for some reason (MQ was about 20 months old at the time, and The Wiggles were her favorite) and they joked that it was very sexy, so I would do it at odd times (and at their frequent requests) just to be silly. Because I'm professional like that.

Oy. I miss working on a show that I adore as much as I adore that show.

(this actually wasn't the 6th pic - the 6th one was from the other angle... but I decided to cheat and go with #5 so you could see my face. And my WIG).

Thanks Mary G and nomotherearth for the trip down memory lane.


Monday Mission reminder: Join us on Monday when your Mission will be to write a post in the style of CD liner notes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

exit Little Mary Sunshine, stage left

I love the theatre. I do. Which is good, because I'm spending a lot time there these days. And will be until February, with all the shows I have lined up. And I'm grateful for it. Truly.

But I'm also tired. And feeling a bit frustrated. Because driving 45 minutes to rehearse the first act of a show that has me on stage for about 5 minutes... well, it's exhausting. And a bit wasteful. And unfulfilling.

I've frankly never bought into the old adage that there are no small parts, only small actors. There are both, and they do not always go hand in hand. I have seen enormous actors in small parts, and small actors in enormous parts.

Am I being a small actor for being frustrated with a string of small parts?

(the currently running show being an exception, of course, but then... well, don't even get me started on small audiences)

Hopefully Little Mary Sunshine will return soon. Thanks for allowing me a wee bit of venting. And trust me, this IS a wee bit. This post was much longer and much more ranting and "woe is me" as I thought it through in my head on that 45 minute drive home.

clarification: I am on stage quite a bit during the second act, playing 2 different parts in several scenes. But the nights that we only run the first act... And it's frustrating because I'm feeling like I've been doing this for so long, and have a degree in theatre, but with all the moving and the whatever I'm feeling like just when I start to get ahead... I'm sick and tired of "paying dues." Dude, I paid my dues in Philly... and then again in Los Angeles... and again... and again... and crud. there I go starting the longer rant...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

You're a winner!

Your dreams have just been answered!

How on earth do I know what your dreams are? Well, I'm a mommy blogger myself, and it's not that hard to guess.

Hello. My name is Painted Maypole, and I am a representative of the mommy blogger's international lotto. I am pleased to inform you that you have just won an all expense paid European spa vacation for yourself and your partner - estimated retail value $20,000. On site child care will also be provided - and rest assured that your kiddos will be well taken care. All you need to do to claim this valuable vacation is to place a small deposit into a Swiss bank account. This will hold your prize until you are able to claim it. Once you enjoy your vacation your deposit will be returned.

Do not hesitate to respond immediately with your bank account information so that we may transfer the low, low deposit of $30,000. This offer is only good for 48 hours, and you certainly don't want to miss your opportunity for a child free vacation.

From one mom to another... you deserve it!

This lotto is sponsored by Monday's Mission. This week's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a "congratulations you've just won!" e-mail or letter. If you write a post in this style please place your link in the widget below:

Join us next week when your Mission will be to write a post in the style of CD liner notes.

Also, I am declaring December a nostalgic month. Let me know what your favorite past mission was (one you want to try again, or one you missed and wish you had done) and I'll resurrect a month's worth of past missions. You can browse through all my past missions here.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Who thought an election would turn me into a crying mess?

The other day I had a few hours to kill between dropping off my in laws at the airport and arriving at the theatre for opening night. I decided to pop into the movie theatre for a matinee.

The Secret Lives of Bees takes place during the summer of 1964, and about 10 minutes into the movie a black woman (played by Jennifer Hudson) gets accosted on her way to register to vote.

And there I was, weeping. Because all I could think about was how that was 44 years ago, and now, just this week, our country has elected a black man president. I'm sure the wait has seemed interminably long to many, and Lord knows the road has not been smooth. Nor does this mean the end of racism in our country. But it is a gigantic step, and for some reason it only really hit me after the polls closed. But with every news story I still get teary eyed.

I know that many people who proudly and bravely voted that year voted again this year. People who were once afraid to go to the polls for fear of their lives were able to vote for a man who looked like them.

And now I'm crying again.

MQ had a mock election at her school last week, so I told to vote for Obama in an attmept to brainwash her and subject her to lots of ridicule at her heavily Republican school. Kidding. I actually asked her if she knew who we were voting for and she said no. Seeing as how we talked about it all the time and I have a bumper sticker on my car I found this vaguely disturbing. Anyhow... I talked with her about how we were voting for Obama because we felt he would be the best president, but some people were voting for McCain because they thought he would be the best president, and isn't it great that in America everyone gets to vote for who they think will be best (wasn't that diplomatic of me?). After she voted at school on Monday she hopped in the car and announced proudly "I voted for the right guy!" "Who was that?" I asked. "Orack Obama!" she said. Orack. he he

and... Congratulations! You've just won a free idea for your post on Monday! Participate in Monday's Mission and write a post in the style of a "congratulations you've just won" letter or e-mail.

p.s. - the show went well tonight, our audience seemed to really enjoy it, and we're having a bit more fun with it. Yippee!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

opening night nerves

Today was opening night. This current show is much different than anything I've done before. The other actor and I basically sit at desks and read the letters, and the show spans from when they were elementary school up through adulthood. I've had to approach this show very differently than any other piece I've worked on. Usually I focus all my attention on the other actors and what my character wants from them. But in this piece I don't look at my co-star until the very end of the show. Instead I look out towards audience, the front row of which is so close I could spit on, if I were so inclined. But I don't look AT the audience, which would actually be easier. Instead I look up and around and listen to the letters. It's hard not to look at the audience when you're that close. And it's really hard to not think about how they are reacting and focus instead on the listening.

That said, I think it went fairly well. I think. I feel like all my usual barometers are out the window. It's uncharted territory.

It's scary.

As my fellow actor said about our jitters before we went onstage - "It's both the best and the worst feeling in the whole world."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


In November of 1992 I was in the living room of my director's apartment. It was fall quarter of my freshman year at college, and the cast and crew of the show I was stage managing had finished rehearsing early so that we could gather together at the apartment for libations and to watch the results of the election. I was a Michigan resident going to school outside of Chicago, so I had cast my first ever vote by absentee ballot. I was thrilled when my candidate, Bill Clinton, won. I remember singing along to the music as he left(or was it took?) the stage. "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow...."

Today as I waited in line to vote (with one of the two - and it should have been three - booths for my precinct broken) a woman in front of me in line couldn't remember the first presidential election she voted in. She had to think back at the dates of the elections, and figured she must have cast her first vote for "George Herbert." She was thinking about it because the volunteers running the polls cheered every time a first time voter signed the rolls. I was amazed that she couldn't remember.

I doubt those new voters will forget this first election. I hope they don't. Because whether they voted for Obama or not (and where I live it is most likely they did not), they were part of history. History that goes far beyond the kind of history that every presidential election is made of.

Tonight we were playing bridge with my in laws when both The Big Guy and I received text messages from a McCain voting friend of ours. "Congrats, guys!" Soon after CNN called it for Obama. And later we sat in our own living room and I watched, with tears in my eyes, as Obama spoke to our nation. And I felt, again, proud to be part of the process. And proud to be an American.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

... we can believe in

This post has been a Monday Mission. Today's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of an ad posted in the grocery store. (You know the type... someone is selling something or looking for something and there's a bunch of little slips to tear off at the bottom with a phone number) When you get your post up leave a link in the widget below

Join us next Monday when your mission is to write a post in the style of a "congratulations! you just won!" letter/e-mail.

Also, I am declaring December a nostalgic month. Let me know what your favorite past mission was (one you want to try again, or one you missed and wish you had done) and I'll resurrect a month's worth of past missions. (I think that I've gone back and labeled all my Monday Missions if you want to go back and browse through them)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - ack!

Today was (because I'm writing this after midnight...) November 1st. All Saints Day. The day AFTER Halloween. There are 26 days until Thanksgiving. 3 days until the election. The season is autumn.

And today, some crazy person in my neighborhood has an inflatable Grinch in their yard - complete with Santa suit and his dog, Sam.

Insanity. As if Christmas in the stores already isn't bad enough.

Here's your very late Monday Mission reminder: write a post in the style of an ad posted in the grocery store. (You know the type... someone is selling something or looking for something and there's a bunch of little slips to tear off at the bottom with a phone number) Come back here on Monday and post a link to your Mission, and read the others!
(and although I am in no way condoning the INSANITY that is NaPoBloMo, Monday Missions can help provide some good inspiration to start off your week of daily blogging)

We are enjoying a visit from my in-laws, and today we took The May Queen bowling. I think dropping a bowling ball on my toes would have gotten the pain over with much more quickly. But at least the bowling alley didn't have any Christmas decorations up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


In my closet there's a large flowered tin that formerly held popcorn. It now holds all the letters and cards that my husband and I sent to each other in the two years that we dated and were engaged before we were married. We never lived in the same city, and usually not even the same state. I only checked my e-mail at the university library once a week, and I don't think he even had an account. We talked frequently on the phone (except when I was working at camp), yet we still wrote letters. They are crammed informally into the tin; the ones I wrote on one side, the letters he wrote on the other - although they do get mixed up occasionally. They aren't remotely in chronological order. My husband suggested that we should burn them before The May Queen is old enough to read them. I insist that we just need to hide them really well. Although they are usually tucked in the back behind my shoes they do get hauled out when we're picking the things we want to save from impending hurricanes. And occasionally I find myself sitting on the floor, usually right there in the closet, randomly picking them out and getting a glimpse at the people we were those many years ago: thoughtful and mooning and learning about each other more and more each day. Two people in discovery.


Twelve years ago I threw a box of letters away. It was chock full of letters written to me from my high school boyfriend. We had met at camp and began our friendship writing long letters - "epistles," as he called them. We kept it up after we began dating. The letters were long and often took us days to write. When I put the letters in the trash I was moving out of my apartment upon my college graduation. My wedding was a mere three weeks away. I hadn't read the letters in a long time, and when I came across them as I was packing up I hesitated. I knew that getting rid of them was the right thing to do, and to this day I don't regret it. I do, however, regret that I didn't try to return them to the sender. It would have been awkward, surely, but we were still friends. Heck, he was probably busy packing up his frat room across campus at the same time. He may not have wanted them, but as I think back on it I wish that I had the letters that I had written - not as a record of our relationship but as a record of who I was for that year in time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Queen of Horror

In the dark of night a groan rises from the blackness. A small form stumbles its way down the hallway of the sleeping house, emitting a low growling sound. It stops beside the bed where two bodies lay tangled in the sheets, sleeping, unaware of the heat radiating from the sinister presence mere inches away from them.

And thus begins the new movie Queen of Horror, which is sure to have you shaking in your seats and hiding your face behind your hands as scene after scene of horror unfolds: midnight awakenings; a fever; a child lying prone in front of Yo Gabba Gabba, her parents powerless to change the channel; the possibility of staying home from school. Will the child manage to get well before the parents have to take her to the scariest place of all - The Doctor's Office???

Parents everywhere are running for cover, but not before rating Queen of Horror as the scariest film they've seen since The Blair Witch Project (which, come to think of it, was the last horror movie they saw before becoming parents)

This post has been brought to you by Monday Missions. This Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a Horror Movie Summary. If you do, please put a link to your post in the widget below.

And yes, The May Queen was down with a fever this weekend, but we are hopeful that tomorrow she'll be off to school!

November is a new month, chock full of new Missions! Your missions, should you choose to accept them, are to write posts in the style of:
11/3 - An ad posted in the grocery store. (You know the type... someone is selling something or looking for something and there's a bunch of little slips to tear off at the bottom with a phone number)
11/10 - A "congratulations! you just won!" letter/e-mail
11/17 - CD liner notes
11/24 - A bill

Also, I am declaring December a nostalgic month. Let me know what your favorite past mission was (one you want to try again, or one you missed and wish you had done) and I'll resurrect a month's worth of past missions. (I think that I've gone back and labeled all my Monday Missions if you want to go back and browse through them)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Days are here again?

(Warning: political opinions expressed in video below. But it's OPIE, and who can argue with that?)

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

The video isn't loading on my browser, so if it doesn't load on yours, and you want to watch it, you can click on the Ron Howard link above and then watch the video on the Funny or Die website. A fellow cast mate tipped me off to this video.

Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a plot summary for a horror movie.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What are you working on?

Stage actors tend to be defined but what show they are currently working on. The most commonly asked question when running into a colleague is "what are you working on now?" It may be couched in the less general "what are you up to?" which of course can be answered with a long list of the other things that make up a person's life, but a list of other activities is, clearly, an answer in and of itself. If another theatre person asks what you are doing and you don't have a theatre related answer... you're not doing anything. Even theatre-going friends will ask what show is up next.

Which isn't to say that theatre people don't value other areas of life. Vacations and families and work and hobbies are all fascinating topics of conversation and worthy endeavors. But it's hard, at least for me, to feel like these things adequately replace the answer I long to give, which is to tell them what show I'm working on now. I feel as if I'm giving excuses for an absence from the stage when I list all the other things.

Since becoming a mother I no longer want to go from one show to the next nonstop. Truly. I know the importance of tucking The May Queen into bed on occasion. I'm better at planning vacations and just saying "well, that may mean I miss the chance to do a show." (Like the Shakespeare festival this summer. And last. And the summer before. Dagger to my heart....) However, it's true that not only does the stage bug bite again after an absence, but answering that dratted question becomes painful.

So now, I suppose, I am really in my element. Because I'm currently IN a show, rehearsing a show, have two upcoming shows slated (You know, this one as well as a classic Christmas story with the same director I worked with last December), AND have been called back for yet another.

It's a rather lengthy answer to the question, but I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Witch ahead in polls

The Candidates

Recent polls indicate that in the race for this year's Halloween T-shirt the witch is ahead in the polls, although some critics think it is too DISsimilar to the current witch T-shirt administration. "It's different than my last one," The May Queen commented, "and different than yours, too, mommy." Mommy commented "yes, I forgot to paint the moon first, and so had to make it smaller and not behind the witch. But I added the bats. Nice touch, huh?" Despite the disconcerting differences, in the informal poll taken this afternoon during the change out of your church clothes hour the folks being polled voted decidedly for the witch shirt.

The Incumbent

However, the tie dyed jack-o-lantern T-shirt cannot be completely disregarded. The May Queen was delighted when it was first introduced. "You MADE it for ME, Mommy?" she asked, and quickly moved to inspect all the various faces.

Of course, we won't know for sure until the real polls close on election day, October 31st. The shirt that wins the coveted spot that day will surely wear its victory well.

This post has been a Monday Mission. This week's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of Campaign Coverage. If you write a Monday Mission post please link to it in the widget below.

Join us next week, when our mission is to write a post in the style of the plot summary for a horror movie.

(and I can't help but point out this fabulous piece of REAL campaign news: Colin Powell is endorsing Barack Obama! His interview is wonderful, and his endorsement is explained in thoughtful and kind terms, as you would expect of him.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wink, wink, nudge, nudge

I am a winker.

An e-mail I send to a friend may have more winks in it than a vice presidential debate*. ;) I try not to wink in my blog posts, but do sometimes have to go back and edit them out (the wink in this post is, of course, intentional). I find them sneaking into the comments I leave around the blogosphere. I worry that they may be too "cute" and sometimes delete them. But I find myself leaving them in more and more.

I wink in real life, too. I might wink at a friend across a crowded room. I might wink at someone I'm rehearsing with. It's a sort of "hello" or "well done" or "I hear you." I wink at The May Queen all the time. Sometimes she winks back.

A few weeks ago I took in a cookie cake to celebrate with her class at school. The children were lining up at the door to go outside when I arrived, so I stood in the hallway grinning at The May Queen.

She looked at me, grinned, and WINKED. All on her own.

I winked back.

It was like she recognized that it's a way we communicate: a quick andsilent way to say "I'm here," "I love you," and "Isn't this fun?"

Photo first published in this post

*Although I am a wink-a-holic, I would never, ever wink at a director at an audition, or into the camera at a commercial or film audition. Never. Likewise I think it's a little creepy that a vice-presidential candidate would wink at ME during a debate. I'm just saying.

And... wink, wink, nudge, nudge... don't forget Monday's Mission: write a post in the style of campaign coverage! (and yes, it's fair to do campaign coverage along the lines of The Daily Show or SNL)

If you're not familiar with the wink, wink, nudge, nudge Monty Python sketch you really should take 2 minutes and 11 seconds of your time and watch it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nothing to Wear?

Opening night.

8pm show.

Guess what time my costume arrived.



But it's GORGEOUS, darlings. Will have to post a picture later.

(Show went fine. )

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

secret identity

There's a high school sophomore playing a servant in the show I'm doing. She reminds me a bit of myself at that age - putting myself out there and auditioning for shows and doing whatever I could. I remember how much I loved when the adults in the show would talk to me and include me, and I've been careful to always say hello to her and chat with her from time to time. The other day she was telling me about this great summer Shakespeare program she attended in Oxford (yes, England. She's 16. And yes, I was jealous) and how she played Helena. We began comparing Helena notes and another guy who was talking with us looked at me and said "You Painted Maypole."

I raised my eyebrow, smiled, and said "Yes, I am Painted Maypole."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the only thing certain in life is CHANGE

Although most of you haven't even had a chance to read my post below (about a show being postponed) I am posting again, because everything keeps changing! The show is still postponed, but one of the artistic directors called and said they really wanted to work with me, and they need a new, simple show to put up in that slot, and asked if I would do this play with them in November instead. I had already put something back on my schedule for a Friday during the run, and said I was interested but couldn't go back on that commitment yet again. So... they are working around that conflict (not having a performance that night), and I will be doing the show. I'm terribly flattered. Rehearsals will start on Tuesday. So I will be able to tuck The May Queen in on Monday, but I'll be learning lines as I enjoy that evening glass of wine.


Yesterday I got a call that the new show I was supposed to start rehearsing is being postponed, probably until March. They are still doing it, I still have the same role, but it will just be later in the season. They were having trouble getting enough actors on short notice.

This will considerably free up my next month, and does relieve the stress I was feeling about memorizing lines (because even though I'm a quick learner, this is a LOT of lines, and monologues at that!) I've been scrambling to put back into place all the things I cancelled/rearranged to make room for this show.

Nothing is ever simple, eh?

In the meantime, I'm still in Tech Week for the first show. The old nickname of "Hell Week" is proving rather true. We open on Thursday. On Monday, after our 4 weekend performances, I'll get to tuck the May Queen into bed and relax with a nice glass of wine.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Excuse me

Dear Ms. May Queen,

Please excuse "Mama" from her bedtime story reading and other nighttime duties. For the next 4 weeks she will be busy rehearsing and performing other stories to share with many, many more people. Rest assured that she will be working hard. To make up for the lost bedtime reading assignment Painted Maypole is hoping to earn extra credit points by playing games of Uno Attack and Trouble, helping you write and illustrate your own story, assisting with the cat you are "sewing," creating a Halloween costume for you (even though she will miss the main trick or treating event... again, she'll be telling a story to a larger audience that evening), organizing your class "fall party," and other various and sundry tasks. I hope that these activities will be sufficient to fulfill the requirements for your course. If you need a signed letter from her directors (or a signed program?) I'm sure that can be arranged.

Thank you,

Painted Maypole

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of an excuse letter (thanks, Alejna, for the idea!). If you do, link to it in the widget below.

(Mary G accidentally linked to her LAST WEEK's Monday mission, so click on "the real link" for this week's entry. But we'll excuse her, because even if she turns it in late, at least she is consistently turning in her assignments! AND, for some reason this week just seems to be link problem filled - Melissa accidentally linked to a JULY post, so um, check out her REAL link as well)

And join us for next week's mission, where all our posts will be in the style of Campaign Coverage.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Working Actress

I've been in rehearsals for the obscure Strindberg play. I have a lot of down time, as I am in only two scenes. The scene they had me read at the audition was pretty juicy, so I figured this was a fair sized role, but it turns out I have that scene and another one in which I have THREE lines. But the great thing is that when I am on I'm ON, and I never, ever have to stand in the back and fake a conversation or pretend I have reason to be there and be interested in what is happening with the other characters, so it's all good. Plus, I've been getting a lot of reading done, and finished the much recommended (and much enjoyed) Water for Elephants solely at rehearsals. I'm also making a dent in my pile of unread American Theatre magazines (and reading those always make me yearn to work and create and be involved in theatre).

We open in less than a week, but from here on out all my downtime at rehearsals and during shows will be dedicated to learning the lines for my next show. I'll be playing the narrator in the stage version of this classic book which I just read for the first time this past January. I'm very excited, as of course it's a great story, and is being produced by the company I got offered the other part with and had to turn it down because I had committed to the Strindberg play. So... yay me! I'll actually miss the first three rehearsals because of tech week for the current show, and then as soon as this show ends will enter into tech for the next show... which means that I won't even get a week off between shows. But I'm thrilled. I am.

Starting Sunday I won't be home a single evening until November 9th, which is a bit rough. I'll miss the bedtime routine with The May Queen, but I know I'll be leaving her in good hands. And it will make it all the more sweet when I return to it.

But, oh... I'm back on the boards. And I needed this. It had been too long.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beyond Hummingbirds

Starting last Friday, during The May Queen's birthday present opening, this hawk has been hanging out in our backyard (and neighboring yards)

We haven't seen him successfully hunt anything yet, but we're hoping to. Wonder what he's after. We're fairly certain The May Queen is too large for him to carry off, although he did return during her birthday party. 9 little children running around. Quite a feast!

(to all you fabulous photographers who I know are out there: I'm brand new to this fancy camera thing, and I'm getting weird purple coloring along white and/or black parts of the photographs. is that a white balance thing? how do I keep that from happening?)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plan a Party Workout

It happens to the best of mothers once a year for each child they have, the time when all that baby birthing forces them to come to grips with the workout they must face: Planning a Birthday Party. We all get a little flabby when we're out of practice, so follow this workout planning guide to see you through this year's workout.

Choose a theme
Muscle(s) worked out: creativity

Search the internet for ideas
Muscle(s) worked out: research

Purchase supplies

Muscle(s) worked out: Budgeting, spoiling, shopping

Make invitations

Muscle(s) worked out: creativity, friendship building, research, design

Wait for (not particularly forthcoming) RSVPs
Muscle(s) worked out: Patience

Prepare home for party
Muscle(s) worked out: cleaning, decorating, creativity

Stress out about whether anyone will come, if you have enough activities planned, if you need more food, if you have enough time, if your child will have fun or not and what the other parents will think of you
Muscle(s) worked out: overactive imagination, guilt, fear, worry

Go over the basic party etiquette rules with child
Muscle(s) worked out: patience, repetition

Greet arriving children
Muscle(s) worked out: all the smiling muscles

Run activities and games
Muscle(s) worked out: patience, quick-thinking, enthusiasm, gentleness, encouragement, restraint

Oversee present opening with all children demanding that their gift be opened next
Muscle(s) worked out: patience, transcription, whispering ("say thank you")

Visit with other parents while children tear apart yard and home
Muscle(s) worked out: patience, friendliness, selective hearing

Pass out goody bags and say good-bye
Muscle(s) worked out: restraint (it's really bad form to yell out "yippee and good riddance!")

Help child extricate toys from boxes
Muscle(s) worked out: Patience, patience, restraint, patience

Drink a cold, alcoholic beverage
Muscle(s) worked out: relaxation, relief, gratitude

This workout may seem like a particularly grueling one, but the end benefit,a happy child who feels loved, is well worth the effort. And just think, you won't have to do it for another year.

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of an exercise routine. If you do, put a link in the widget below.

Join us next week when your Mission will be to write a post in the style of an excuse letter.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Our internet connection has been coming and going, and it was out Friday night. We had spent the day in a wonderful and relaxed celebration of The May Queen's birthday, and since I couldn't blog about it, I pulled out the journal I started for her when I was nursing her. The one I hadn't written in in over a year. And I wrote, by hand, a birthday note to her about what we did and who she is and how pleased we are to be her parents. And although this blog will provide me with some nice things to share with her, I need to remember the importance of doing that, too.

I've been away from the blogosphere, I know. Since I've been gone we've been to the Parish (i.e. "county") fair, The May Queen turned six, I auditioned for another play, a hawk visited our backyard, our internet connection was coming and going and now we have a new modem, and I've been busy with my parents in town. Photos and stories to follow. Eventually. Probably. Maybe not until after the house guests leave in another week.

I should be back, however, this Monday to lead the charge with a Monday Mission. This week's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of an exercise routine. Go ahead. Write one. You know you want to. Besides, all that typing is like push ups for your fingers.

Did I mention that The May Queen is now six? SIX. 6. s-i-x!


(after i hit publish and reread the post I realized I did the "six" thing three times, so had to come back and add one more, because really, I can't leave a post with three sixes in a row!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


One of the downfalls of backyard hummingbird theatre is that hummingbirds are increasingly finding their way into our garage, and unable to find their way out. They hover at the ceiling, beating their wings as they frantically search for a way UP and out. They don't seem to realize that by flying a few feet DOWN they can exit by way of the gaping hole that is the garage door. This morning I discovered that one I thought I had found it's way out last night was still in there, and I tried gently coaxing her out with a large plastic rate. To no avail.

My parents arrived this afternoon to be here for The May Queen's birthday. They came bearing a flowering plant that they knew the hummingbirds would enjoy, and we hung it outside our kitchen window.

Later in the afternoon we saw the hummingbird again. She sat on the garage windowsill, looking out at the back yard and the feeder, chirping frantically, exhausted. My mother walked over to the window. The bird flew up but still pressed against the glass, trying to will her way through to the other side. My mother gently took the bird in her hands, walked to the door, and released her. The bird flew off.

"She didn't poop in my hand," my mother said simply.

How often we do, indeed, poop on the person who is simply trying to help us.

Monday, September 29, 2008

la la la...this class is so boring

Today's Monday Mission is to write a post in the form of notes taken in class, and as you can see, I am feeling TOTALLY uninspired. ack. I did recently, however, come across this fun little note actually written in class over a decade ago as I was brushing up on my Strindberg:
yup, that says "class adjourned due to blood"
I wish I remembered what happened.
Hopefully you'll feel more inspired than me. If so, leave a link in the widget below.

October Monday Missions
Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write posts in the style of:
10/6 - An exercise routine
10/13 - An excuse letter (thanks for the idea, Alejna!)
10/20 - Campaign Coverage
10/27 - The plot summary of a horror movie

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Following in my footsteps

Every night before bedtime we have story time. For years we've read 2 stories to The May Queen, but over the summer we added a third story, one that SHE reads to us. I went through her shelves (and shelves) of books and pulled out books I thought she could read and placed them in a basket for her to choose from (I'm awfully glad I kept a lot of those "baby" board books!). I also hit up the library for new books for her to read. She now often pulls other books off of her shelves and surprises us by reading many of them.

My heart fills with pride as she reads a story to me. But tonight, my heart nearly burst. As she read a book I didn't think she could read she surprised me even more by doing voices for all the characters. The same voices I use. When the frog had a deep southern accent, I nearly had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing, it was so adorable.

The May Queen does not appear to have been bitten by the acting bug, and I am totally OK with that. But I am beyond thrilled that she'll be a dynamic reader (there are few things worse than listening to someone read in a monotone!)

Don't forget Monday's Mission: write a post in the form of notes taken in class

and if you have any ideas for upcoming missions, please share them! I'll post the list for October on Monday

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Backyard Hummingbirds - Wordless Wednesday

ok, ok, so that's not a hummingbird.
but he was in our backyard this morning!
*all the birds are female ruby-throated hummingbirds