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!)