Friday, February 29, 2008

Blogging in the breeze

It's a beautiful day here, and I am writing this post from my screened in porch on my new laptop! woo-hoo. The old computer stopped hobbling along earlier this week, and since we just purchased a super duper powerful desktop to replace the one that caught on fire, we decided to get a scaled down laptop as our second computer. I'm psyched. I'm always so jealous when you all talk about blogging on the couch or in bed or whatever, but now I can, too! We have yet to determine if we can save the hard drive from the dead computer, and I really hope we can, as there are some pictures on there I won't be happy to lose.

It's leap day! Are you doing anything special today?

My cat loves being out here on the porch, although he REALLY wants to get outside. He is not an outdoor cat. I'm sure he thinks we put the bird feeder out there just to taunt him.

Tomorrow starts a new month, which means new Monday missions! Your March Missions, should you choose to accept them, are to write posts in the style of:
3/3 A voicemail message
3/10 The voice of someone or someTHING else in your home (here's your toaster's chance to tell all!)
3/17 An obituary
3/24 Easter week - I'll have family in town... take the week off.
3/31 A political ad

And finally... Jenn of Serving the Queens tagged me for a meme wherein I'm supposed to show you a picture of my bedroom. Jenn showed a lovely picture of her room , with an inspiring poem painted on the wall. I was tempted to clean up in order to do this, but as you can see, I didn't.

My room is normally a mess. I'm not a neat person by nature, and then the bedroom is upstairs and down a hallway, so it doesn't even get the "people are coming over, must clean up NOW" moments of cleaning. Admittedly, having been sick for a month now, it's a bit worse than usual, but not too much.

I never make my bed. Well, rarely. Why bother when you're just going to sleep in it later? Besides, I took a nap this morning. The side of the bed is usually piled up with reading material and discarded clothes, as you can see. The big book is the complete novels of Jane Austen. I'm still reading Emma (the book is so big I didn't take it with me on vacation... I read Lovely Bones instead). Under it is 'Tis, a gift from the director of my show. I'm looking forward to reading that, but after Angela's Ashes, of course, which I conveniently have in my "to read" pile, anyways. You can see the elliptical machine, which, despite my best intentions, has been unused lo these 5 weeks of fighting the plague. At least it doesn't have clothes hanging from it.

The rest of the bedroom looks much the same... the cedar chest piled with clothes to put away, the chair piled with clothes to hand wash, and the dresser piled with... junk, I guess.

I will refrain from tagging anyone, but if you feel like posting a picture of your messy (please, please tell me I'm not the only one!) bedroom I would feel much better.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The happiest place on earth

OK, so it's been 3 weeks since we were at Disneyland, and I am just getting my pictures up. It's been a bit crazy (what with a death in the family and an unplanned trip to the frozen north, opening a new play, a computer dying, and the plague that never ends...) But better late than never, right?

Do you think this child is excited to be at Disney?

We stayed with The May Queen's "god-family," some dear, dear friends of ours who live about 15 miles from Disneyland. We met up with one of her other godfathers at the park. Her "god-brother," a 15 year old boy who is just sweet as can be with her (they held hands in the car on the way to the park) skipped school to join us... which was great because he was wheelchair bound after a recent knee surgery. This got us to the front of many lines very, very quickly. I highly recommend taking someone who can't walk with you to Disney. It's the only way to travel.

The May Queen and her Daddy in front of Cinderella's castle, first thing on our first day. We did a few rides (Dumbo, Peter Pan, etc) and then headed to meet the princesses. We knew this was a priority for The May Queen. We attended a little show where the princesses taught the little kids how to bow and curtsey. Later, MQ would talk about this show and say how when the princesses came out we had to "curse them." When I stopped laughing I corrected her. Curtsey.

But look what else they had at the show!! Maypoles!!!!! I had to get a picture for my blog.
We then waited in line to see the princesses. For over an hour. This was the longest line we waited in the whole 2 days we were there. But The May Queen was satisfied.

We both got to meet our favorite princess.

She also met Prince Phillip. She was not so sure about him at first, but now she loves to tell me how he told her that even Sleeping Beauty was a bit nervous the first time she met him. I just thought that was so sweet. Although I know he says that to all the girls.

Unfortunately it was shortly after this that we got the phone call that my husband's brother was dying, in a matter of days. My husband made the decision to leave and try to get a flight home. He didn't make it, and Greg died later that day. The Big Guy was very sad to miss the rest of our first Disney trip (he had never been himself!), but he went home to be with his parents, and it was the right thing for him to do. We stayed on and kept having fun, although we missed him. For a while there it did not feel like the happiest place on earth. But Disney does have a way of making things look brighter, I must confess.
The May Queen was very spoiled by all her godparents, and a little spoiled by us parents, as well. (Another tip - take the godparents with you and go home with more souvenirs than you know what to do with!)

We like to call this picture "Disney First Communion."

Before leaving MQ's Daddy paid to have her face painted. The dress, ears, gloves, purse, wand and Minnie doll were all gifts from the Godparents.

One thing I did not expect was that The May Queen is a roller coaster FIEND. Once she discovered the real rides, that was it. She would pass up a chance to meet a character, saying "after another ride!" We were so pleased to discover she was tall enough to go on everything. Her favorite was Thunder Mountain. She even rode with her hands up. One time when we rode it she had her little white gloves on, and the ladies behind us just gushed about how cute she was. As soon as we got off she had to go on it again. Space Mountain and Splash Mountain were similar hits. And The Pirates of The Caribbean. She requested it the next day by asking "Can we go on the pirate ride? Yo ho, yo ho?" Too cute.
The water on splash mountain made her face paint run. She loved the water ride at California Adventure, too, even though she got SOAKED.
Look at that face. Pure glee.
The carousel at Disneyland wasn't working, so we had to hit King Tritan's carousel at California Adventure.
There's me.
The Big Guy's nickname for The May Queen is "Weasel," so we had to take this picture in line for the Roger Rabbit ride. It was fascinating when it broke in the middle of the ride and we had to walk out, escorted by the always friendly Disney staff (they really do a great job of that. In 2 days I think we dealt with 2 people who weren't completely lovely, and in the schme of things they weren't too bad themselves) MQ was a little scared of having to get off the ride, but we convinced her it was part of the adventure. And it was.
We really had so much fun. I can see why people go back again and again. The May Queen soaked it all up and loved, loved, loved it. I'm so glad we took her at this age. Yes, yes, it's Disney propoganda and merchandising every time you turn around. It's true. But we had a ball. I was grinning all the way home the first night. Although after 2 days I confess to being completely beat. When the May Queen got tired she hitched a ride in the lap of her godbrother. That Cinderella dress left glitter in it's wake, and by the end of the day his crotch glittered. We called it magic, and took pictures, but I'll refrain from posting them here!
It really felt like a magical time, and we were so lucky to get to spend it with some dear friends, as well. And I know we'll go back. Hopefully next time The Big Guy can enjoy it with us.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I looked across the table at my husband, who was gazing intently at The May Queen. She was standing next to his chair, animatedly telling him about something that happened at school today. As I watched him watch her I thought wow. Look how he is listening to her. He is such a good daddy. I love him.

The May Queen finished her story and sat back in her own chair. Her daddy then turned to me and said "She said like 73 times in that story."

So that explains the rapt attention he was giving her.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

And the award for best improvisation of a dirty song goes to.....

Painted Maypole!

Oh... Wow. Thanks. I really wasn't expecting this at all. It's such an honor to win the first ever award of this kind. I was sure the award would go to Wayne Brady. I wonder... was it my song about going to Disney World, where I rhymed about Mickey the Runt? Or perhaps it was my song about being a pilot, and coming in my cockpit? Although really anyone could have come up with those. Maybe it was my rather inspired turn about being a trailer inspecting Fema Agent. And I must confess, the song about playing the tuba was a bit difficult... singing that bit about polishing an instrument with my in-laws in the audience. At any rate, it's truly an honor to have you acknowledge my work. It's my privilege to share my dirty lyrics with you night after night. I have to thank the director and musical director, who taught me to trust my own voice and gave me the freedom to get as filthy as possible, and my fabulous castmates, who continue to inspire me with their own dirty rhymes. Thank you to my parents, who never would have let me say such things at home (although Dad did once give Mom a screw in her Christmas stocking...) but laughed heartily when they saw the show. And of course, I would be nothing without my audience and their brilliant suggestions, such as "swallowing a cat." Because with a pussycat as your inspiration, the dirty lyrics practically write themselves. Thank you.

This Post was a Monday Mission. This week's mission is to write your post in the style of an award acceptance speech. If you choose to play along, put a link to your award acceptance post in the widget below. And don't forget to thank ME.

Friday, February 22, 2008


I have been sleeping a lot this week. Every day when I haven't had to be somewhere in the morning (so that would be Tuesday, Thursday and Friday), I've come home from taking the May Queen to school and crawled back into bed for between a 3 and 4 hour nap. It's glorious, in a lot of ways, but I'm not getting much done. Clearly, my body needs it. I've been sick for over 4 weeks now, and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. My show opens tonight. Maybe next week I'll be able to get back to normal. Anyhow... that's why I haven't been around much. I've been spending a lot of time with my pillow.

Reminder: Monday's Mission is to write a post in the style of an award acceptance speech. Have fun!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Bit of Blarney

I'm back in rehearsal again, this time for a remounting of a show I did in fall of 2006. One original cast member moved away, but otherwise it's the same crew, and it feels a bit like old home week. It's truly an ensemble show, with everyone on stage all the time, and each character has his or her own moment to shine. It's a lovely relief after 3 shows in a row of small parts. It's something that I can simultaneously sink my teeth into, and yet not have to put in hours and hours of memorization and rehearsal, since we're already so familiar with the show.

The show is an interactive one, as if the audience is coming to mourn a death. It takes place in Ireland. (The link will take you to the Wikipedia page about it. I try to never put the names of the shows I'm doing on this blog, so that someone doing a web search for the local production won't find this blog). I play the fiancee of the deceased. In each performance I have to improvise a song, based on a suggestion given by an audience member earlier in the show. When we first began rehearsals for this I was TERRIFIED of the song. But the director and musical director taught me the formula, and now I have quite a good time with it. One of the "rules" that I have to follow is that by the end of the song I get as dirty as I possibly can, and the last word should be so obvious as to what it is from the previous rhyme that the rest of the characters try to cut me off before I can say it (last night in rehearsal my song was about hockey and I was rhyming with the word "puck." You get the idea...). Then, at the close of the song, I mount the coffin. Literally.

High art it is not, but it is great fun.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The New Pants Network

All Pants, All the Time

We had such fun at Christmastime with our All Pants Christmas Carols, that we've decided to bring to you a complete lineup of Pants Television Programing. So pull on your Lazy Pants, park yourself on the couch... and enjoy!

The All Pants Lineup

News Pants
The Today Pants
Live with Pants
48 Pants

Game Pants
Pants of Fortune
Pants or No Pants
The Newlypants Game

Soap Pants
As the Pants Turn
The Young and the Pantless
Pants Hospital

Classic Pants
Leave it to Pants
I Dream of Pants
Lost in Pants
Everybody Loves Pants
Pants and the City

Comedic Pants
Desperate Pants
Ugly Pants
Saturday Night Pants
How I Met Your Pants
Two and a Half Pants

Dramatic Pants
CSI: Pants
Pants Anatomy
Cold Pants
Bionic Pants
Pants and Sisters
Dirty Sexy Pants

Reality Pants
Celebrity Pants
The Biggest Pants
Dancing with the Pants
Pants Swap


This Post is part of the Monday Mission, which was to write a post in the style of another blogger. I chose the list-loving, Pants Patronizing Alejna of the fabulous blog Collecting Tokens. (Check out the link at the top of this post to see her list of Pants Christmas Carols!). Write your own homage to another blogger, and paste your 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 an awards acceptance speech. You'll have just watched the Oscars (right? I mean, don't we ALL watch them?) and surely you've been practicing your own speech in the shower for decades. For the Oscar or whatever award YOU dream of receiving. Will you be humble or boastful? Who will you thank? Who will you forget to thank? Will the music cut you off?

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Come From the Land of the Ice and Snow

Although I have lived in a southern clime for nearly 9 years now, I was born and raised in Michigan. I went to university in Chicago. I lived for 3 years in Philadelphia. My winters were spent sledding and ice skating and building snowforts and snowmen. Snow days were a gift. I did, however, also have my fair share of shoveling, icy roads, and having to have my car pushed out of a ditch where it got stuck in the snow after toilet papering someone's home. By the people who's lawn I had just decorated. Ahem.

My husband was born in California, but raised in Michigan. To him snow is a four letter word. He was a paper boy. Snow made his job very hard. He thinks only of the negatives when he thinks of snow.

The May Queen, on the other hand, was born in California. She lives now in Louisiana. Her experience of snow has pretty much been limited to what she reads in books or sees on TV. Until these last two weeks, that is.

When we were in California, we drove along the "grapevine" (I-5 north of LA through the mountains) to visit some friends in the central valley, where we used to live (and where MQ was born). There was some snow in the higher parts, and The May Queen was beside herself with glee. We pulled over so she could touch snow for the first time. She touched it tentatively. It was hard snow, snow with a crusty layer on top. I grabbed a handful and handed it to her. She immediately threw it to the ground and yelled "it's freezing!" and would have nothing further to do with it. Her daddy would have been proud.

However, our unexpected trip to Michigan afforded her the chance to encounter more snow. And be properly dressed for it. Although she tried valiently to make a snowman, it was not packing snow. But she did get to do some of the other things she has dreamed about doing. The things she reads about in books and sees on TV....

She made a snow angel (so did I!)

She caught snowflakes on her tongue (in the second picture she had thrown the snow up in the air for that particular purpose. In the other it was actually snowing. And when I try to edit this it is laid out much more nicely)

She ate snow. And gave herself a snowbeard.

We made a pile of snow, and she ran and jumped into it.

She learned this defensive maneuver for when a wad of snow was being thrown at her.

And when we came inside she drank hot chocolate.

As we flew home, The May Queen looked wistfully out the window and sighed "I miss playing in the snow." My husband muttered curses under his breath in the seat next to me.

Monday Missions are Back! Monday's mission is to write a post in the style of another blogger. This is in honor of the other person, so be nice, but have fun! And could I ask you all a wee favor? You see, I'm trying to catch up with the well over 400 posts that were in my reader when I returned. I'm getting to you. Slowly. While trying to catch up with the rest of my life, as well (you know, start rehearsals for a new show, prepare the house for guests later today, pay some attention to my husband, child and cat...). So could you all just PLEASE STOP POSTING over the weekend so that there aren't any NEW posts to read? Come back on Monday with a great post for the Mission, and we'll go from there. OK? Great, thanks.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's that sound?

(we're back from our vacation and the memorial services. I have yet to sort pictures. I'm not up for rehashing the memorial services except to say that my husband preached (not once, but twice), per his brother's request, and he did so beautifully and I could not be prouder of him. so, to move out of the gloom I will regale you with a story that happened just before we left...)

It was the Saturday before our vacation. That afternoon we would be heading to the Endymion Parade. But I was having a lazy morning. It was about 10 am. I was eating breakfast. I heard a sound.

It sounded as if something had fallen down our chimney and landed on the fireplace. I heard swish and then a thud on metal, as if something had hit the flue. I got up, walked into the living room, and stood still for a few moments. I heard nothing else. I went back to eating.

A little bit later, I noticed that our attic door was open. This usually means that the cat has pushed his way into the attic. I peeked around for him, and called his name. I heard nothing. I shut the attic back up.

When my husband got out of the shower, I told him about the attic, warning him that the cat may still be in there, but that I didn't think so. Then I told him about The Sound in the fireplace.

"Are these two things related?" He asked.

"Well, that did occur to me, but I don't think so." I replied. "I mean, how could the cat have gotten into the chimney?"

We went about our day. Shortly, a little boy from the neighborhood came over to play. He had not met our cat before, and The May Queen wanted to show him off. They began searching the house, calling "Shakespeare, Shakespeare." The cat did not come out, but this is not unusual. He often hides from The May Queen, and who can blame him, really?

But after about 5 minutes of this, we began to get concerned. We all started looking. At one point I was standing in the living room, and I heard this faint sound. A faint meowing sound. That seemed to be coming from the chimney.

I was baffled. How did the cat get in the chimney? I opened the flue and shone a flashlight up the pipe, but saw nothing. But the pipe took a turn, and perhaps the cat was stuck above the turn?

I went up in to the attic to see how the cat had gotten into the chimney. We thought perhaps he had found a way onto the roof? I knew where the chimney ran up between my bathroom wall and closet, because my dad mentioned it once when we was in the attic putting a plug in. So I headed back there with a trouble light. And I found trouble.

The cat had NOT gotten into the chimney, but had walked out across some pink insulation and fallen into the wall surrounding the chimney. He had enough room to move around and could jump from the "floor" to on top of the tin surround of the fireplace. That was the thud on metal that I had heard.

He looked plaintively up at me and meowed.

We ended up cutting a hole in the garage wall to get the cat out. He was covered in insulation, but this came off much more easily than soot.

Do you think the cat will be smart enough to stay out of the attic now? I doubt it.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Today's Monday Mission was to write a letter recommending yourself for promotion. I'm currently in Michigan for a memorial service in a house full of people who don't know that I write a blog. I'm sorry, but I won't be doing this mission this week. But I think it's a great mission, so I may tackle it another time. If you've done the mission, please put your link in the widget below.

And thank you to all of you who have expressed your love and care. I'll be back online more regularly when we return home later this week.

Friday, February 8, 2008

An end to the war

In October, I wrote about my husband's brother's 10 year war with cancer (beginning with male breast cancer), in this post: (I can't do a pretty link because my friend's computer apparently refuses to make the greater than symbol needed to make the html link).

On Thursday, February 7th by brother in law lost the final battle.

We had been talking for several days with my husband's sister, a nurse, who told us that the end was very near. My husband was able to talk to his brother on the phone. This is not a big surprise to us, as frankly we've been expecting it for well over 5 years, and things took a definate turn for the worse this fall.My husband went out to visit at Thanksgiving. Good-byes were said then, as, frankly, they were every time we saw my brother in law. This long war has taught us to always say "I love you" before we part.

On Thursday we were at Disneyland. My sister in law called and told us it was a matter of days. My husband decided to try to get a flight to Michigan, in hopes of making it before the end. He did not.

We girls stayed on and greatly enjoyed our Disney adventure, and I have many tales to tell another day. Tomorrow The May Queen and I have changed our flight - instead of heading home we will be flying to Michigan. We haven't a thing to wear.

Last night before I fell asleep I breathed my brother in law's name up to God, and paused, not quite knowing what to pray. Then a huge smile came to my face, and I laughed. He's with You, I thought, no need to worry.

I did pray for my parents in law, who had to watch their eldest son die, and will be burying him next week. This is not the right order, it is not how things are "supposed to go." But things do not always go as we had planned. I prayed for my husband, who hurts more for his parents than himself. For my 2 sisters in law, one who has lost a husband, the other a brother. For The May Queen, who has lost her uncle.

But my brother in law? Things are much, much better for him now. This much I know to be true. And I am ever so grateful for that.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm going to DisneyLand!

Well, we're packed (mostly) and very excited for our trip to California. We'll be staying with one set of The May Queen's godparents, and seeing the others. We'll visit old friends, and, of course... go to Disney Land. The May Queen is very excited, as are we. I'm sure I'll have lots of tales to tell when we return. I don't think I'll be online much while we're gone, so I'll see you next week! But before I go I thought I'd revisit a post from September... a Monday Mission in which I wrote of MQ's longing to go to Disney World. We have all decided that DisneyLand is a worthy substitute!

(and if you haven't yet seen my Mardi Gras pictures from this weekend check out the post below)

To Disney World
or MQ's Lament
sung to the tune of Part of Your World, from The Little Mermaid
Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has everything?
Look at this trove
Treasures untold
How many princesses can one bedroom hold?
Looking around here you'd think
Sure, she's got everything
I've got dollies and stickers a-plenty
I've got storybooks and underwear galore
You want videos? I've got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal I want more

I wanna be where the princesses are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin'
Walking around on that - what do you call it? Right- Main Street!
Wearing plastic shoes, you don't get too far
Rides are required for fun and squealing
Monorail, Dumbo, It's a Small World - they all sound so NEAT

Out where princesses walk, out where princesses run
Out where princesses stay all day in the sun
We'll catch a show - if we can go To Disney World

What would I give if I could live out of this suburb?
What would I pay to spend a day at Disney World?
Don't need to fly, we could just drive
We could even pack our lunch in a cooler
Not too expensive, I'll donate my piggy bank
When can we go???

I'm ready to know what my friends all know
Walk up to the princesses and get some answers
I'll take a pen and get the autographs for which I yearn....
When's it my turn?
to stay out past dark, exploring the world's most famous amusement park?
Don't tell me no! When can we go?? To Disney World

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Let's Go to the Mardi Gras

Since we're going to be out of town for Mardi Gras, we have to get all our parades in early. We went to one here in the burbs Friday night, and then today we went down into the city for one of the "super Krewe" parades, Endymion.
Early on in the parade everything just stopped, and these fun little guys were stuck in front of us. The guys who were walking in them got out and took a break, and we used it as a photo opportunity! Would you want to walk around in this all night, with only that little hole above the fleur de lis to look out of? I would rather throw beads from a float, thank you. But for that job you have to fork over thousands and thousands of dollars. I think I'll be enjoying Mardi Gras from the street.

We have a friend with an office along the parade route, on Canal Street, who had a party. So we headed down early and ate food and hung out on the front lawn until the parade started. Then we pushed our way out onto the street, and used our cute little blonde girl to get lots of loot.
We termed this "assuming the position." When a float was coming The May Queen would stand in front of The Big Guy, lift up her elbows, and insist "Pick me up, Daddy!" Once on his shoulders she would say "Get your arms ready, Daddy." Ready to grab all the things being thrown her way, that is.
To get the best stuff you get right up next to the float, but you have to contend with all of these people.

But you get the goods! This float stopped for a few minutes right in front of us, and the guy put beads right around her neck, then motioned for me to come forward and did the same for me.

This masked rider also handed some right to The May Queen.
Men on stilts are fun.
The man in the vest is Kevin Costner. Take my word for it. He was the "grand marshal" of the parade. The Doobie Brothers and the Go Gos also came by on a float, but I didn't get their picture.

Here's a pretty decent shot of a float.

We left before the parade was over, and still nearly had more than we could carry. We had a great time. I got beaned in the head with some cups and have a fairly sizeable lump on my forehead. The May Queen got whacked with something, too (we think a full bag of a dozen beads... those things are heavy) and cried, but didn't want to go in and get ice. "I can wait," she sniffled. "She's a tough girl," I said to her daddy. "She's a bead whore," he replied.

She is now contentedly sleeping with about 10 new stuffed animals.

This is the first time that Endymion has returned to it's midcity route since Katrina. We parked our car and walked several blocks to the party, passing homes that were, as we passed, being gutted. People were coming out of their homes wearing masks, carrying pieces of wall. One house, a duplex, had 2 brand new front doors, the old wrecked doors leaning against the side of the house. It's a weekend in New Orleans, and people are trying to get their homes back. But still, they waved and wished us Happy Mardi Gras. Green, purple and gold hung from their front porches. Music played. Food was being eaten on front lawns. It's Mardi Gras, and the party goes on.