Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twilight : seeing for myself what the fuss is about

So I finally gave into the phenomenon. I borrowed Twilight from a (kid you not) 12 year old girl who attends my church. Both the book and the movie. I read the book when I was in MI helping out with my in-laws, and watched the movie this weekend.

Going into the craze this late in the game certainly means that I'm coming in with already formed opinions. Some people I like and respect really LOVE both the books and movies... although nearly all of them warned me that the writing isn't great, but that it manages to suck you in, anyhow. I've read the disparaging comments about adult women all hot and bothered over teenage vampires. So I was not coming to Twilight with a clean slate. (Were this a trial, I could not be on the jury)

For the record, I came into the Harry Potter craze 4 books in, very reluctantly, and greedily read all 4 books in about a week, fast becoming one of the masses of Harry Potter fans.

So... what do I think about Twilight?


Really, that pretty much sums it up.


The book was... eh. The writing was, indeed, not very good. Several times I nearly yelled at the book "stop telling me how "alluring" or "attractive" he is and describe him so that I will find him alluring or attractive." I was not sucked into the story, although I was curious enough about the characters to keep reading and see what would happen to them. The movie was similar. They changed some of the things that I liked about the book... like how Bella would cook for her father. That tiny detail lost sucked so much out of her relationship with her dad. The relationship between Bella and Edward in the movie made little sense... how on earth did they get so emotionally attached to each other so quickly? It was strained in the book, but completely whacked in the movie.

So, ultimately, I have to say I don't get it. It wasn't terrible... I've certainly read worse things. But not only did I not think it wasn't great, I didn't think it was very good.

How about you? What do you think?

(and hey, to each their own... if you love these books and movies, great. Have it)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting into character

(I'm busy learning lines today.)

(although I do think this warning would come in pretty handy for many drivers)

This has been a Monday Mission. Your mission is to write a post in the style of a license plate or bumper sticker. You can make your own license plate at this handy license maker site. If you play along post a link in the widget below:

And a new year is upon us! Can you believe it? Here are your missions (should you choose to accept them) for January, 2010: write posts in the style of..

Jan 4 - A performance review (inspired by Heather at In Te Domine's clever Year End Self Evaluation (hint: feel free to steal her format. She's given us permission!)

Jan 11 - A postcard

Jan 18 - Today's headlines

Jan 25 - An instruction manual

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Joyful Noise

She sat listening to the small choir singing, trying not to visibly wince. Instead she gently, gently closed her eyes and prayed.

Dear God, let me hear them as you hear them.

Almost immediately she heard it.

She did not hear glorious music. She did not hear angelic harmonies.

She heard laughter.

It was not cruel laughter. The laughter was not AT the choir.

The laughter was joyous. It seemed to say "I KNOW! They really aren't very good. But aren't they brave? Aren't they happy? And listen. They're singing about me! Isn't it wonderful?"

She opened her eyes and smiled. And tried not to laugh.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa Baby: Redux

Buh-bum.. buh-bum...
Santa baby, just slip a new couch under the tree, for me
Been an awful good girl
Santa baby so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, a new convertible too, light blue,
Make sure the A/C works, please
Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of when I'd clean not nap
Think of all the@ssholes that I didn't slap
If my list you can complete
I'll sit on your ample lap

Santa baby, I want some smokin' hot abs, no flab
Erase my many stretch marks
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa honey, one little thing I really need, the lead
In that new musical
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, and fill my stocking with a million, or three,
A big girl needs security
Santa cutie, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Send me off to sea on a luxury ship
Put me on a plane for a European trip
Treat me good and I'll treat you bad
Santa, bad boy, I'll get out my whip

Santa baby, fulfill a small dream of mine, more time
8 hours a day would be fine
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry, tonight.

This post has been a Monday Mission. This week's mission is to write a post in the style of of a Holiday Tune. Write your own ditty and put a link in the widget below. Late entries are accepted, but beware, the Monday Mission Mistress DOES brandish a whip.

Join us next week when your mission is to write a post in the style of a Bumper Sticker and/or Vanity Plate.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'll be home for Christmas (aka I know what it means to miss New Orleans)

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Where there's no snow
and satsumas grow
I'll get a kiss from the May Queen
Chistmas Eve will find me
'Neath our Live Oak Tree
I'll be home for Christmas
Down in New Orleans...
I'm flying home today, and have a Monday Mission in the works that I can't quite get done via my iphone.  But I promise a late in the day Mission, and if the song that's brewing comes through it will be complete with photographs.  So check back later.
If you've already done your mission (today's mission:  write a post in the style of a holiday tune) post a link in the comments, and when I get my post up I'll immediately link up to you.
In the meantime...
I'll be home for Christmas
I wanted you to know
Let's have beignets
and cafe au lait
and cheer on "geaux Saints, geaux"
Christmas Eve will find me
with the Big Guy and the May Queen
I'll be home for Christmas
Down in New Orleans...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Unusual gifts

I'm currently in Michigan, helping to take care of my in-laws.  My mother in law is home from the hospital, and moving slowly but doing well.
Before I left home it seemed the list of things to do was endless.  I barely slept for 3 nights straight trying to get everything done.  I will return to a messy house and lots more to do.
But in the meantime, I'm getting a lot of reading done.  I got all my Christmas cards done this evening, something I didn't have time to sit down and do while I was at home.  I have to take things my slowly, at my in-laws' pace.  And while there are things to do here, certainly, they all get done more slowly. And with lots of breaks in between.
I miss being home with The May Queen as Christmas draws near.  I miss baking cookies and making crafts.  I'm missing Christmas parties and going to the live nativity.
But I was here for a 54th wedding anniversary. I got to set up another Christmas tree.  And I'm catching up on sleep.
This has not been the December I envisioned for many reasons, this unexpected trip being one of them.  Yet there are still gifts to be found.
Don't forget to join us for Monday's Mission:  write post in the style of a Holiday Tune (inspired by Jeri's 12 Days of Christmas spin-off)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Festival of Lights

Nine years ago I performed in a holiday show that performed at elementary schools.  The show was about all the December holidays.  I sang a Hannakuh song.  In Hebrew.
The show was terrible.  It was poorly written.  Under rehearsed.  It was bad. 
The very first show we performed was out in the desert east of Los Angeles.  It was a long drive.  I remember carpooling with other cast members, and that the driver referred to driving with a tire going along the reflective bumps on the dotted line as "driving by Braille."
We had two shows that first day: one in the morning, followed by a lunch break, then a show in the afternoon.  After the first show the cast went to a local restaurant to eat.  We still had time to kill before the next show so another cast member and I decided to take a nap in the car in the school parking lot.  We leaned the front seats back, rolled down the windows for the fresh breeze, and set the alarms on our cell phones.
Some teachers came out to the parking lot on their break.  We heard them complaining about the show.  About how bad it was.  And of course, they were right.  The other actor and I just looked at each other.  We never spoke of it.  Then we went inside to do the show again.
I have done shows before that I haven't been proud of.  Shows that I have told my friends "eh, don't make a big effort to get to this one."  But that show was the only one that made me truly embarrassed.  I tried to put on a good face and do the show the best I could. 
When the show was over I never put it on my resume. And when the company called me the next December to see if I was interested in doing it again?  I was unavailable.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Gift Shopping List


New Friends in a New Place

For MQ

For Hubby
Peace of Mind

For Friend E
A New Job (With a big pay raise! and great benefits! and a good working environment!)
Time to enjoy her new baby

For Friend R
Her house to sell
A New Start

For Friend S
A healthy pregnancy

For Chrissy
A miraculous and clean bill of health

For Niobe and Creative Type Dad and Chantal and Furrow
Healthy babies

For ME
Time to relax and enjoy family
A clean house (and garage. and attic. and yard)
Hard drive data recovery (at least the pictures!!)

Do you think I can buy these things at the mall?

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a shopping list. Join the Mission Impossible team by adding a link to your post in the widget below.

Join us next week, when our mission will be to write a post in the style of A Holiday Tune (inspired by Jeri's 12 Days of Christmas spin-off).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Could I have a change of luck, please?

So I wrote that book (OK, I wrote that table of contents) on how to have a stress-filled life, but really, I don't need to do any of that. Because stress just happens to me.

The cat is sick and has peed on the couch and the chair. I was told this is impossible to clean, but I'm trying to do it anyways, because that's a lot of money to just throw away (we did throw away the mattress, it's a sleeper sofa...)

My Mother in Law is currently in the hospital after her second stroke. Today she is having a pacemaker put in. My husband may need to go and stay with her and my father in law for a good chunk of January. While I'm in tech week.

Our desktop's hard drive died, and we have to get a new one. We have likely lost all of our documents. And photos. LOTS AND LOTS of photos.

Our furnace wasn't working. I tried to light the pilot light myself, but that wasn't the problem. So I paid someone to come out and fix it.

We've bought/will be buying all new tires for 2 cars.

Other life changing stressful things I can't write about online.

And did you know that Christmas is in 16 days?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How to have a Stress-Filled life

by world renowned stress expert Painted Maypole

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Procrastination as an Art Form

Chapter 2 Overextending your Commitments

Chapter 4 Eradicating "No" from your Vocabulary

Chapter 5 Perfecting Perfectionism

Chapter 6 The Wonder of Worry

Chapter 7 Misplacing Important Belongings

Chapter 8 Neurotic Tendencies

Chapter 9 Refusing Help

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a table of contents. Join the Mission Impossible team by adding a link to your post in the widget below.

Next week your mission will be to write a post in the style of a shopping list.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Telling the Truth about Santa

As Christmas approaches, I'm getting lots of hits on an old post I wrote 2 years ago about Santa Claus, and how we tackle his realness (or lack thereof) in our home. Here's the original post:

Hold on to your hat.

Our not quite 5 year old daughter knows there is no Santa Claus. Why? Because we told her.

Let me start at the beginning. When The May Queen was born, we wondered how to deal with the whole Santa Claus/Easter Bunny thing. We wanted the focus of these holidays to be the Christian celebration, not the imaginary characters that go with them. Also, we were really uncomfortable with the idea of telling our child that something was true, when we knew full well that it wasn't. In any other area of our lives we would call that lying. Nearly everybody I know has a story behind how they found out the truth about Santa Claus. It is often traumatic. Why would we do this to our child?

So we asked my parents how they handled it. I don't have a traumatic story, because I always knew that Santa Claus wasn't real. But I couldn't remember how I knew this. My mother explained that she had told my brother and I that Santa Claus wasn't real from the very beginning. She talked with us about how Santa is a character, like in a book, and we could enjoy his stories and talk about him and have fun with the idea of Santa without him being real. So this is the approach we have taken with The May Queen. And so far so good. MQ is still young enough that the line between fantasy and real is pretty blurry anyways. She knows that Santa is a character. She also knows that Cinderella is a character, and Dora and Curious George and... This does not keep her from talking about them, and being both excited and nervous when she sees a costumed character. She gets it, and yet she doesn't. And that's OK. That's a blurry line I'm comfortable. Believing is fun. I'm an actress, so I am all about the suspension of disbelief. But it's just that: the SUSPENSION of disbelief. I can enjoy the fun that comes with Santa without ever having to wrestle with the logistics of how he gets down chimneys, and why some kids get Wiis and other kids get hand me down clothes, while still others get nothing at all. We talk about how Santa represents generosity, and when she gets older we'll talk more about St. Nicholas and the various traditions that have led to our version of Santa.

At Easter, the whole Easter Bunny thing is fairly easy to avoid, frankly. But again, we have fun with it, even while she knows full well who hides her basket. It does not diminish her excitement about it a single bit.

When we first started down this road I worried that MQ would be the spoiler for other kids, and I still worry about that a bit. My husband is quite firm on the idea that that's not our problem. But I'm still careful about it. And very proud of how The May Queen handles herself in such situations. When someone asks her what Santa brought her for Christmas, she simply says "I don't get presents from Santa, but my parents got me...." and dives into her list of favorite gifts. So far her friends haven't asked for an explanation. And if they do... well, hopefully she'll handle that gracefully as well.

It's a hard road to take in a world that is so focused on these imaginary characters. That insists that the magic of Christmas is in a child's belief in something that is not real. Even at our church the first words out of nearly every adults mouth are "What did Santa bring you for Christmas?"

Our holidays are still magical. We lie under the Christmas tree and look up at the twinkling lights, and talk about how the lights represent Jesus, the light of the world. We play with our nativity scenes. Last year the May Queen regularly took the baby Jesus and gave him rides around the house on the back of a sheep. Instead of buying presents for The May Queen's grandparents we adopt a family in need, or give to a charity, and write a letter to them telling them what we've done in their name. We open the doors in our advent book and tell the story of Christmas. And yes, we have Santa Claus books and figures around our house. Because Santa isn't a bad thing. But he's a poor replacement for what the real magic of Christmas is, and the gifts that come with it.

(and yes, I am well aware that the Christians co-opted pagan holidays that celebrated the returning of the light, taking these festivals and adding their own Christian bent to them. I know. But I choose to celebrate this aspect of it)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I am an ass: Theatre Thursday

Well, after a wee bit of ado, I will indeed be speaking Shakespeare's words on stage again shortly.

I did not get Beatrice, as I had hoped, but did get the only other role I was interested in: Dogberry.

do not forget to specify, when time
and place shall serve, that I am an ass

Dogberry is the clown. The bumbling buffoon of a constable who tries to use big words, but never gets it right.

O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting
redemption for this.

Done well, Dogberry can steal the show.

Which I completely intend to do.

Monday, November 30, 2009

This is the end: Daily Gratitude 30

I am grateful that November is over. Not because I'm ready for Christmas. Or that another year is swiftly drawing to a close. November wasn't a bad month. I'm grateful that November is over because it is the last day of NaBloPoMo. On November 1st I insanely decided to join this posting every day thing... and not only did I post every day, but I gave myself a theme of Daily Gratitude. This meant that I actually posted MORE than 30 posts in November (this one makes 35) since my Monday Mission posts and the ONE Theatre Thursday post I managed to pull off didn't fit the theme.

Am I glad I did it?


Well, it was good to pause at least once each day to think about what I was grateful for. And some of those pauses turned into interesting posts I think, such about my posts about patience and getting educated by my lovely daughter. But mostly I feel that the daily gratitude posts kept me from the regular type of posting I do. In some ways that was handy. It was a busy month, and I didn't have to think much about what to post. I also allowed myself to keep the posts brief. But in some ways I wonder what posts I lost because I wasn't thinking outside of the gratitude box.

Would I do it again?

Probably not. Although I have learned to never say never.

So... goodbye November and NaBloPoMo. Goodbye Daily Gratitude posting (but I will still be feeling grateful every day, I just won't be posting about it ad nauseum).

We now return to out regularly scheduled programming.

Whatever that is.

My Deepest Regrets: Monday Mission

Dear Faithful Readers,

I regret to inform you that I will be unable to participate in this week's Monday Mission. Since my return from vacation I have, in addition to putting up the Christmas decorations, been seized with a desire to banish clutter, dirt, dust bunnies and other various unpleasantries. Also, I have attended 2 auditions, the usual church commitments, and have, of course, my 3 actual jobs to juggle. The shopping needs doing, the hair needs dying, there are cards to be written and mailed, presents to be shopped for, and holiday cheer to be had. And of course, there's the commitment I made, in a fit of insanity, to NaBloPoMo. The duties of the Mission must, regretfully, be left to others this Monday. However, I am sure you will find some suitable reads in the widget below (per usual) and hope that you will consider taking on this Mission yourself in my absence.

Regretfully yours,

Painted Maypole

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a letter in the style of a letter of regret. Play along, and post a link to your regrets in the widget below.

And join us next MONTH (new month, new missions!) when our mission will be to write posts in the following styles:

Dec 6 Table of Contents

Dec 13 Shopping List

Dec 20 A Holiday Tune (inspired by Jeri's 12 Days of Christmas spin-off)

Dec 27 a Bumper Sticker and/or Vanity Plate

[and just for fun (or extra credit? ooohhh... I LOVE getting extra credit!) the Monday Mission I DIDN'T go with:

Dear Dust Bunnies,

I regret to inform you that you must find a new home. You are being banished via broom and vacuum. Your friends the fur balls, the dust layers and the counter grime will be evicted as well. Maybe you can find a new place to be roommates. Please forward this note to the clutter and window streaks as well. Mama's on a Mission. A Monday Mission, in fact.

(not so) regretfully yours,

The lady with the Oreck and a crazed looked in her eye]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Bard: Daily Gratitude 29

I'm grateful for the fabulous words of Shakespeare, which I got to perform on a stage today. With any luck (and much ado) I'll soon be doing more of that.

(At least there's one Shakespeare I'm happy with. Shakespeare the cat is still in the proverbial doghouse... see previous post)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finding the Good: Daily Gratitude 28

I'm grateful for the perfect NOLA moment I had earlier today: sitting in Jackson Square amidst the street performers and painters, three kids stood above me on a balcony yelling "We love your city!" Me too, kids, me too.

I'm grateful that tonight I get to sleep in my own bed, next to my husband.

I'm grateful that that same husband got new tires for my car while I was gone.

I'm grateful that the May Queen wants to help me decorate for Christmas, even if that means I have to do things differently to allow her to participate.

I'm grateful I had a frozen lasagna in the freezer.

I'm grateful to be writing this post on my computer, and not my iphone, like I've been doing for the past week.

I'm grateful for the neighbors who helped us move the couch out onto the screened in porch after we discovered the cat had been peeing on it. And I'm grateful that that 5 year warranty we bought 4 1/2 years ago covers cat urine.

I'm not finding much to be grateful about with my cat, though. I guess I am grateful for this exercise in daily gratitude. At the end of a long day when I'm tired and crabby, it's good to sit down and think of things in the day that I AM grateful for. May they outweigh the bad moments in my mind and in my heart.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Small price to pay: Daily Gratitude 27

I'm grateful for two auditions this weekend, and a husband who is picking me up at the airport, headshot, resume and script in hand, and taking me to the theatre (and taking MQ to the aquarium to pass the time). I'm not particularly grateful that this means I have to get up at 6am to make myself look pretty before heading to the airport for a 2 1/2 hour flight, but a girl can't complain too much.


Monday's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a letter of regret.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving: Daily Gratitude 26

I'm grateful for a loud and full Thanksgiving celebration: for stampeding children and piles of tasty food and flowing wine and the convergence of family. I'm grateful for an adorable nephew who shares my love of sharks and insists that he hates when I give him a zerbert (aka "raspberry") but keeps coming back for more, amidst peals of laughter.

And thousands of miles away, I'm reminded how thankful I am for my husband, who is generous enough to share his wife and daughter with other family, while he is home alone. Who for 13 years has been steady and sure, providing for me and for our daughter. Who has allowed me much freedom to do the things I love.

And, of course, I am grateful for The May Queen. Her presence in my life has taught me things about love I didn't know I had to learn.

I am blessed beyond measure.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hope: Daily Gratitude 25

I'm grateful for a ray of hope, in a situation that was starting to feel hopeless.

And I'm thankful for "anonymous" for keeping the comments coming, and all that great unsolicited information (although I guess I may have to add that dratted word verification thing on comments soon, for which I apologize to the rest of you.).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Friends are friends forever:"Daily Gratitude 24

I'm grateful for a day spent with my oldest friend. I'm grateful for our 22 years of friendship, and the freshmen cheerleading squad that brought us together.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Home for the Holidays: Daily Gratitude 23

I'm grateful for real apple cider and donuts. You can't quite duplicate them in Louisiana. It's too late in the season to see the presses running, and the fall activities at the farm have all been closed down, replaced with the first crop of Christmas trees. But still. Cider at the farm. Delightful.

I'm grateful that a few tress are still showing their fall colors. Of all the seasons we lose in the south, I miss fall the most. It's the tail end of fall here in Michigan. Most of the trees are bare and the landscape is brown and forlorn. 48 degrees is colder than just about any day in New Orleans. But it makes a cozy sweatshirt all the better, and the warmth of reading in the living room near a fire or gathering around the table for some family competition (games!) all the more welcoming.

I'm grateful for sleeping in, then waking up to pumpkin pancakes. I'm grateful for time to color and play trains. I'm grateful that even though my parents have moved twice since I was married and moved out, their house still feels like coming home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The 23rd of Gratitude: Monday Mission


This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to acept it, is to write a post in the style of an acrostic. Normally I would tell you to post a link to your post in the widget below, but since I'm doing this on my iPhone, this post is kinky free. Please put a link to your post in you comment. Thanks.

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

Daily Gratitude 22

I'm grateful for delicious homecooked meals that I didn't have to make.  I'm grateful for family, and especially for The May Queen and her cousin who are now old enough to play well together with little direction or refereeing. I'm grateful to be sleeping in my childhood bed. I'm wishing that my husband had been able to come, too, but am grateful that he encouraged the May Queen and I to come without him. I'm grateful that friends are including him in their Thanksgiving plans.  

I'm also grateful for my iPhone, which is making this post possible. However, that may make my posts this week extra short. This keypad is pretty small!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

...Ain't got time to take a fast train: Daily Gratitude 21

I'm really grateful for airplanes.

Trust me, I have horror stories of sleeping on the floor at the Atlanta airport, and the Northwest Airlines employees who kept insisting we would be leaving in the blizzard "any minute," and who refused to get our luggage for us or change our reservation when we finally called my brother to come and get us. The Detroit Metro airport was then closed for 3 days, and we had made it out just in time.

I hate the expensive airport food and the way they make you take off your shoes before you can pass through security.

I hate the uncomfortable seats with no leg room and the sad excuse of a meal they feed you, if you're lucky.

I hate having to entertain a child on the flight.

I really hate when they lose your luggage.

But I am still grateful. Because otherwise it would be very difficult to visit our family. Which is what The May Queen and I are doing right now. Thanks to the airplane.

Reminder: Monday's mission is to write a post in the form of an acrostic.


...just do it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

family and libraries: Daily Gratitude 20

I'm grateful for relatives in town... two different sets attending two different conferences (yay, New Orleans!) and getting to spend time with them.

I'm also thankful for public libraries. And the kind and gentle people who work at them, such as the lady who did not get outwardly irritated with the woman who kept insisting she wanted to borrow a Twilight book, and didn't understand that they were all checked out. Because half the known world is reading them at the moment. And the other woman who kept her good humor when a man kept loudly insisting that it wasn't free, because he paid his taxes. True enough, she agreed. She paid her taxes, too.

I paid my taxes, too, and headed straight to the far less popular drama aisle. The books I wanted were in.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Free, fabulous theatre: Daily Gratitude 19

I'm grateful for excellent theatre. For free.

I ushered tonight, thereby getting me into the show for free (a trick I've been doing since college. When I moved to Los Angeles and called theatres offering to do this, they were SHOCKED. Some insisted on paying me it. It was crazy. A town full of actors who weren't trying to see real live acting for free? Nutty. )

The play was beautiful, a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning script. But the execution was... divine. I had the joy of playing opposite the actor 2 years ago, and know him to be one of the most talented people I've met here. Or anywhere, for that matter. And, he's one heck of a nice guy. And funny as all get out.

And, as tonight proved, incredibly versatile and brilliant. Bloody brilliant. Tonight was THE ONLY NIGHT I could see the show, what with my own shows and going out of town for the holiday. And I'm SO glad I made the effort to go. More than worth it. Even if I HAD paid.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Skimming the fat:: Daily Gratitude 18

I'm grateful for a size four.


I've lost 23 pounds.

3 pants sizes.

I didn't think it was possible. I never would have thought, frankly, that I had that much to lose.

This summer I came home from camping and put new batteries in my scale. It hadn't worked in months, but my clothes were getting tighter and I knew that I was heading in the wrong direction. The scale just showed me how much.

I decided it was time to get serious. I lost 5 pounds before heading off to a week in Cabo, during which I gained 2 of those pounds back. I wasn't too discouraged, though, I expected that.

Then I discovered Lose It!, a free iphone application that helped me track calories. I programmed the app with my height and weight, and my goal weight. I decided how many pounds I wanted to lose each week, and it told me how many calories I could eat each day. I put in everything I ate, and most of the time the application actually had the numbers. Occasionally I would do a google search and use the function that allowed me to put in my own numbers and create a new food.

Having the numbers in front of me made decisions pretty easy. Hmmm... 12 chips at 140 calories or countless carrots for 40?

I soon realized that the app assumes you sit around on your butt all day. I started putting in all my activity, like housecleaning. It motivated me to be more active... cleaning for an hour could literally afford me a glass of wine in the evening.

And not so slowly, but definitely surely, the weight came off. I didn't exercise per se, because I didn't have time, although I did look to add activity whenever possible. Every other time I've tried to lose weight I tried through exercise and a slightly restricted diet.

Nothing worked like this. Calorie counting. Simple math.

And Lose It! made it so easy. Less guess work. And serious results. The results became the motivation.

When I hit my "dream goal" of 18 pounds, I decided to keep going.

23 pounds.

I still can't believe it.

But all those new pants I bought today? They make it pretty real.

There is one serious downside, though. Care to guess how many companies I've found that make pants in a size four LONG? Here's a hint... you'll only need one appendage.

(I'm slightly nervous about posting this. Let me be clear that I know I was not fat before. I am lucky enough to say that I have never been what a doctor would call overweight. I was on the higher end of a healthy weight, and decided I finally wanted to get serious about seeing if I could get it back down. I am proud of myself, and so share this with you. But I also know that I was born with tall, skinny genes that I inherited from my father. I am, and
almost always have been, grateful for that. I have many, many friends who have struggled for years and years with their weight, and I have not had to deal with it in the same way they have. Weight is a touchy issue among women. I know. For this very reason I rarely discuss it with my friends. Or on this blog.

also... this is in no way a sponsored review or anything. I am simply sharing what worked for me.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A baby: Daily Gratitude 17

I talked to an old friend on the phone today. She is scheduled to have a c-section next Wednesday. Her first child, a son. One whom we have hoped and prayed for for years. We are so excited, and so hopeful, and so filled with joy.

I am grateful for new life and the love it brings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Family dinner: Daily Gratitude 16

I'm grateful for the opportunity to cook an actual meal for my family. And eat it all together. And not rush off to rehearsal after.

We sing a song in praise of pants: Monday Mission

dedicated to Alejna

We sing a song in praise of pants
We lift our voices loud and strong
Oh won’t you come and join our dance?

Oh ring the bell and bang a gong
A rat-a-tat and ding ding dong
Oh won’t you come and join our dance?

In skinny jeans and a sarong
Or worn out sweats, shirt from Hong Kong
Oh won’t you come and join our dance?

At home or work or play pants belong
So many styles you can’t go wrong
We sing a song in praise of pants.

We wear them short; we wear them long
Go cowboy style or with a thong
Oh won’t you come and join our dance?

There’s room for all so come along
Hop up, take part in our joyful throng
We sing a song in praise of pants
Oh won’t you come and join our dance?


This week's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form a Villanelle. (A Villanelle is a type of poetry. Follow that link for an explanation of the "rules" of a villanelle. One famous example of a villanelle is Dylan Thomas' poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night) If you play along, please put a link to your post in the widget below:

And join us next week, when your mission is to write a post in the style of an Acrostic (you know, those poems they made you write in grade school where you wrote a word down the page, and then each line started with the letter... You could do a THANKSGIVING one, just like you did back in third grade this time of year, or you could come up with your own word)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rock n Roll: Daily Gratitude 15

I'm grateful the festival is over, fun though it was. I'm looking forward to a few quiet evenings at home. I'm looking forward to catching up on some things I've let go. I'm looking forward to some good nights of sleep. I'm looking forward to tucking my daughter into bed.

I'm grateful I had the opportunity to work in 2 wildly different shows, with two very different companies, playing several varied characters.

I'm grateful for a cadre of good babysitters, and a few good friends, who make it possible for me to be away from home when my husband is also away.

And I'm extraordinarily grateful for a husband who allows the craziness that accompanies so many of my theatrical endeavors. He is a rock amidst my creative chaos. I know I couldn't do it without his support: emotionally, financially, spiritually, creatively....

Monday's Mission is to write a post in the style of a Villanelle. I've tried to start several, but am personally not getting very far with it. Perhaps after some sleep? I'll try again tomorrow. Please, give it a shot and join me. I'll try to get my post and the linky-do up sometime Monday afternoon.

(A Villanelle is a type of poetry. One famous example of a villanelle is Dylan Thomas' poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night)

Standing O: Daily Gratitude 14

I'm grateful for sold out houses.

Standing ovations.

And a local reviewer who double checked my name with the artistic director.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In the House: Daily Gratitude 13

I am grateful for good audiences tonight, for both shows. I'm grateful for my friends who came and supported me.

I'm grateful I got the chance to catch a show myself.

I'm grateful to be out of rehearsals and into performances.

I'm grateful for my babysitter's big brother, who had driven over here and fallen asleep on the couch, and then drove her home so I didn't have to wake up MQ and load her into the car at 1:30am to drive the sitter home (these are the things you do when your husband is out of town and you're out late).

And I'm grateful that I actually fit into this skirt... that I wore in HIGH SCHOOL. And kinda look good in it. Not that I'm planning to wear it to church on Sunday or anything.
(yes, that's the castmate who makes animal noises at me)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gleeful: Daily Gratitude 12

I'm grateful for Glee.

Are you watching this show? If you're not, you need to be. I love it. Granted, I think I must be just about their ideal demographic. A theatre loving, music loving, former high school choir member, child of the 80s. The music on the show tends to be a mix of songs I grew up with, songs from musicals I know and love, and newer songs that make me feel vaguely hip for being aware of them. The humor is biting. The show is completely over the top and ridiculous, which makes the moments of tenderness (i.e. a father saying to his gay son "I've know since you were three") all the more likely to make me at least a little verklempt. It is my favorite hour of television. And today, when I realized I had a large chunk of time to myself, I was downright gleeful to realize that after a 2 week hiatus, I had a new episode of Glee waiting for me on my DVR.

What do you look forward to each week?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cock a doodle doo: Daily Gratitude 10

I am grateful for a compliment I received today: "You're like the perfect combination of innocent and hip."

Hip. Someone called me hip.

he he. Fooled her.

Also, one of the shows I'm working on right now has me wearing some rather... er... flattering outfits. One of the guys told me that instead of of making the cat "rrrower..." sound at me every time he saw me, that each night he'd do a different animal, but that it always means the same thing.

Today I got a rooster.

I'm a hip chick who gets animal noises made at her nightly.

It could be worse.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida Disappearing: Daily Gratitude 9

I am grateful that Hurricane Ida became a tropical storm, and now is barely a blip on our radar.

Because although I know that technically the hurricane season runs through the end of November.... seriously? A Hurricane?

Make mine tall and on ice, please.

I'm also grateful that the May Queen's school didn't jump the gun and cancel school or end it early (like so many schools in the area). Because those few hours of downtown this afternoon? I needed them. Particularly since tomorrow I'm booked (and often, double booked!) from 9am till 10pm.

Cafe Regret

Welcome to
Cafe Regret

Painted Maypole, owner

Dinner Menu

Not Your Nachos
We start of with a plate of crispy lost opportunities and heap it high with ground up ambitions and shredded roads not taken. The whole thing is topped off with "the one that got away"

What if Wantons
These crispy treats are full of fruitless wondering.

Anger Stew
This secret recipe has been simmering on the stove for days! Chock full of righteous indignation and self aggrandisement.

Eat Your Words Salad
Words of hatred, sarcastic comments and negative criticism, all atop a bed of lettuce that you made, and now you'll have to lie in.

Shoulda Said Pasta
Smart remarks, scathing blows and the perfect phrases comprise the sauce that swirls around the downward spiral noodles.

Too too chicken
A boneless, skinless chicken breast, broiled, then topped with our bland "too afraid I'll fail" sauce (a secret recipe!)

Not So Sweet Revenge
This nearly irresistible dessert tastes delicious at first, but leaves you with a bitter taste in your mouth and a nasty case of heartburn.

House White Whine
Made from only the ripest regretful grapes. Grassy, with a dusty aftertaste.

House Red Whine
Made from the grapes of wrath, bottled up, aged to perfection, and just waiting to be uncorked.

Bitterness Brew
The perfect beer to cry in.

Blow Your Diet Coke
Full of sugar AND high fructose corn syrup. Guaranteed to be more calories than your meal.

*Don't see it on the menu? Ask your waitperson. Our fabulous chef may be able to whip up your personal regret into a hearty meal. We aim to please!


This post has been a Monday Mission. Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a menu. Play along and place your order (link to your post) in the widget below.

And join us next week, when our mission is to write a post in the style of a a Villanelle (this is a type of poetry, another suggested by De, and since we had such fun with her last poetry suggestions I thought we'd try it again! One famous example of a villanelle is Dylan Thomas' poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Patience: Daily Gratitude 8

I'm grateful for the gift of patience. It seemed to arrive today just when I most needed, but least expected, to find it.

I don't quite understand patience, and how it works. Yesterday I was feeling tired, worn out and disgruntled. This morning as I looked ahead at my even busier day I knew I wanted to shake off those feelings, but wasn't sure how. I prayed for patience.

When I need patience I tend to want it NOW. It's like that tired old joke... "God grant me patience, and grant me patience NOW." But when you need it, you need it NOW.

Unfortunately it never seems to come immediately. But it does come.

Perhaps it's the prayer. Or perhaps it's the acknowledgement: acknowledging my need, my willingness to be patient and the desire to get unstuck from the opposite. Maybe they are the same thing. C.S Lewis wrote "[Prayer] doesn't change God, it changes me." The prayer is the acknowledgement that prompts the change.

Regardless, I've seen it happen. Suddenly I find that I'm more present in the moment. I'm enjoying it, and not stressing about what is to come. Not brooding about what has already passed. That doesn't mean that all the irritations are gone. But my bad attitude is, if not completely gone, greatly diminished. My energy is renewed.

Patience has snuck up on me. Stealthily. There is a moment when I notice it has arrived. And has been there for a while.

And I am grateful.

don't forget Monday's Mission... to write a post a in the style of a menu. Play along... I'll be grateful! :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It coulda been worse: Daily Gratitude 7

I am grateful that I have AAA, who sent someone to change my tire when I got a flat after hitting a monster pothole on the way home from rehearsals. (NOLA is notorious for her potholes. They are wretched. I am not at all thankful for the potholes, and wish I could send my tire repair bill to the city, thankyouverymuch)

I am grateful for the 2 kind men who stopped to assist me as I tried to change the tire myself (and grateful that the AAA guy showed up way earlier than promised).

I am grateful for my friends who watched the May Queen for 11 hours today while I attended 2 rehearsals (and waited for my tire to be changed).

I am grateful for a glass of wine at the end of a loooooooong day.

Reminder: Your Monday Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a menu. Yes waiter, I'm ready to order...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Off: Daily Gratitude 6

I am grateful for post Halloween sales, and the great deals I got on decorations (and I love unpacking the boxes next year... it's like getting presents since I've nearly forgotten all the new goodies).

I am grateful for DVRs, so I can watch shows later... and fast forward through the commercials.

I am grateful for a whole day off. And I shan't spend the rest of it on the computer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Teacher's Pet: Daily Gratitude 5

I'm so grateful that I played school with The May Queen today.

The actual playing of school is not particularly exciting to me, but I know that ultimately the May Queen just wanted some time with her mama, something she hasn't gotten much of lately. So when we arrived home from her actual day at school and she asked if I would play school with her I glanced at my watch, did some quick calculations of what needed to be done before I left for rehearsal, and agreed.

Not only did I get some good time in with my darling daughter, but I got a real window into what she's learning at school. First she had me color a cat picture I drew last time we played school (that was stored in my old folder in my own "desk" - a priority mail box). While I did this she, as the teacher, was hard at work at her own desk. When I was done coloring I had DEAR ("Drop Everything and Read") time, like she has every day at school. I read some of the book she's reading at school. Then she handed me a math worksheet that she had created, full of addition and subtraction problems. Harder ones than she was working on just a few weeks ago. As I completed that she created a spelling worksheet... writing out sentences with misspellings. I was then to rewrite the sentences correctly. I was impressed with what she put together.

Then she broke character and whispered to me, asking if we could watch the Cats DVD we picked up at the library. I whispered back that yes, we could. And a snack? Yes.

She announced to the class (that would be me and all the lined up stuffed animals) that we had a special treat, and would get to watch a MOVIE.

I only got to watch about 25 minutes of the DVD with her before I had to pack up and head out for rehearsal. But we talked about how it was different from when we saw it live, and she asked lots of questions and we got to talk about the things we were seeing... the dancing and the makeup and the characters... in a way we couldn't in the theatre.

I often find that when I'm feeling stressed and like I have too much to do that stopping and really focusing on time with MQ seems to calm me down and put things in perspective. And it most certainly did.

So I'm grateful that I said yes. I'm grateful that my daughter wants to play with her mother. I'm grateful for the things that she's learning at her real school, and I'm grateful that I can be surprised to find her getting smarter and smarter each day. I'm grateful for my sister in law, who sent her a box full of school supplies that inspired her to play school regularly. Most of all, I'm grateful to be the mother of this incredible little girl. I am indeed her student. Every day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"But trust me on the sunscreen:" Daily Gratitude 4

My husband and I had our first ever dermatological appointment today. We decided it was finally time to have that once over that everyone recommends... check the moles, check for sun damage, etc. My father and my paternal grandmother both had precancerous spots removed from their faces, so I have a family history.

The nurse joked that we should take our picture in our matching gowns and use it for our Christmas card (I had my camera in my purse, as usual. We could have. I suppose that would have made fun blog material).

Overall, the doctor seemed very pleased. He said our sun damage was minimal. He said we each had very few moles. He did remove one from my back, saying he wasn't particularly worried about it but it was right where my bra clasps, and he worried it would be bothersome. I've had it forever. He removed one from hubby's back, too. He didn't give the bra excuse on that one. He's having them both checked, but said he wasn't worried about them, they looked fine.

I'm grateful for sunscreen. I'm grateful for dark complexion. I'm grateful that the doctor was on time, friendly, and efficient. And if we haven't heard from that doctor within a week? I'll be really grateful that our moles got a clean bill of health.

Letting in the air: Daily Gratitude 3

Today I'm grateful for a beautiful day and the cleansing feel of fresh air in the house.

(I'm also grateful for everyone who has checked out my review of Sonicare kids and entered the sweepstakes. If you haven't already, check it out (I'll be grateful!). Did I mention the SWEEPSTAKES? You could win a $100 Visa gift card. Just in time for Christmas)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Husbands and football and traffic, oh my! Daily Gratitude 2

I'm grateful for my husband, who picked up MQ from the drama class I was teaching so that I could take off early for rehearsal and battle the football traffic. He offered to do it and made it happen. It took a lot of stress off of me.

And I'm grateful that rehearsal got out before the game ended, so I made it home in record time and didn't get caught in the post game traffic.

(Our rehearsal space is near the Superdome, and I was dread, dread, dreading the traffic from Monday night football. But it wasn't too bad. Hooray)

NOLA Phrases: A Monday Mission vocabulary list

Moving to Louisiana forced us to learn all sorts of new words and terms (We knew we needed help with words like Tchoupitoulas, but we THOUGHT we knew how to pronounce Burgundy, but don't even think about putting the stress on the first syllable if you don't want to be pegged as a no nothing tourist.) But there are phrases I didn't expect. I don't know if they're particular to Louisiana or if they're just southern things, but this Yankee girl had to get used to them. Most of them I still don't use. Except ya'll. Because who can resist ya'll?

Make groceries - you don't buy them, you "make" them.

Go to the grocery - as in "go to the grocery store," but without the "store"

Make 3 - children don't "turn 3" (0r whatever age) they "make 3." Perhaps this is the adult's way of saying the child is lucky they made it to three without being eaten by an alligator or something. Also used in the past tense: "He made three on Saturday." (I kept wanting to ask "Made 3 of what?")

Come see - this is what an adult says when they want a child to come to them. They don't actually have anything for the child to look at.

Bo-bo - boo-boo. I've never actually seen this written, so maybe it's written the same way, but it's pronounced with a long "O."

ya'll - a contraction for "you all." This phrase has become common around the country.

all ya'll - like ya'll, only more (more redundant, more offensive to the grammar police...)

dress - to put lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a sandwich (i.e., "Would you like that po' boy dressed?")

"the storm" - If someone references "the storm" they are undoubtedly discussing Hurricane Katrina.

This has been a Monday Mission. Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a vocabulary list. If you complete the mission, please put a link to your post in the widget below.

Join us next Monday, when your mission will be to write a post in the style of a menu.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cats and parents: Daily Gratitude 1

Every November I look on in horror as bloggers all around me sign on for this whole posting every day craziness that is NaBloPoMo. Because every year I seem to be up to my neck in rehearsals and/or performances for something and I know my reader is about to explode.

This year is no exception.

And so it is that I cannot believe that I've just felt the urge to TRY.... to TRY to do it myself.

The first 15 days of November promise to be insane. Insane.

But for that very reason it seems to me that it might be a good discipline to post something that I am grateful for every day. Even if it's just a few words. So I'm gonna give it a shot. For me.


Today I'm feeling very grateful for parents who took me to plays as a child. This afternoon I took The May Queen to see Cats... it's the triumphant return of Broadway touring shows to NOLA after Katrina wiped out all our big theatres. I first saw Cats when I was 11 or 12. I remember my mother reading us the T.S. Eliot poems the show is based on from a library book as we drove to the theatre. I remember the thrill of intricate set (the May Queen and I peered at it through binoculars and challenged each other to find certain details - "do you see the paintbrush?" - before the show), the incredible dancing, the cat that prowled so near to us in aisle. When the lights dimmed and the orchestra began today I felt that same rush I felt as a child.

I watch any show now with different eyes... trained eyes, experienced eyes. I look for what works and what doesn't... and why. But there's no denying that inside... my heart was leaping and spinning, just like the dancers on that stage. Just like it did when I first saw it. BECAUSE it did when I first saw it.

Because I had parents who took me to see it.

(and I am grateful that I have until tomorrow to come up with a Monday Mission... because even though I usually get the ball rolling on Sunday night... I am coming up dry at the moment)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Last year I posted my Halloween pictures On November 28th. I'm a bit more on top of it this year.
At first the May Queen had wanted to be a chihuahua. I could not figure out how to make a chihuahua costume that wouldn't look like a cat, and for once Google failed me (although I found all sorts of costumes FOR chihuahuas!). I managed to talk her into a pink poodle. She got TONS of compliments on it, which made me beam. I have to confess, she was adorable!
Jack O Lantern designing takes concentration. Sticking your tongue out helps.
We carved our pumpkins a few days ago. I managed to lose the carving tool I bought last year (I just saw it when I unpacked the decorations! I'm sure it's around here somewhere...) so we worked together with a real knife.
Here we are with our finished projects, taken just before trick or treating this evening.

I got this great idea from Crafts by Amanda which I found through The Crafty Crow. (If you like to do crafty things with your kids you must add The Crafty Crow to your reader!). They were so simple and fun to make... we set them at the end of our driveway with candles in them.

Gratuitous kitten shot.


Don't forget Monday's Mission: to write a post in the style of a vocabulary list.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Conquering the monster: Theatre Thursday

My life has been taken over by the festival. When I auditioned for the second show, I thought it would be like the first one. Shorter. Less rehearsals. Less time commitment.

But, no. The show is only about an hour long. But it's a musical, with all new original music. And lots of harmony. And some choreography. And I'm onstage pretty much the whole time. Oh, and there's zombies.

It's a full rehearsal schedule. PLUS the other show's rehearsals. And I've been sick. So I'm a little stressed. OK, quite a bit stressed. But I can make it through the 15th. I know I can. I can. I will. I must.

[deep breath]

I attended my first fringe festival in Philadelphia back in... oh, I dunno, 97? 98? Fringe festivals are great fun: you can see a bunch of theatre in one day, and there's samplings of all sorts of things... tragedy and comedy and absurdism and dance and monologues and street theatre and puppetry and ... it's a ball. Some of it's terrible and some of it's great, and a lot of it leaves you thinking. I saw one of the most amazing things ever at a Fringe fest. It was a play called Monster, and it was a one man show put on by a Canadian company. I sat in the theatre, a place I had been in countless times before, a building I had WORKED in, and clung to my best friend for dear life. I'm an actor. I understand plays, stories, fantasies. But never in my life have I been so convinced that someone might kill me at any second. I was cursing my propensity to sit in the front row. In two steps this man could be at my throat. He was telling the story, through several points of view, of a small town where people were disappearing. And it turns out they were being sawed to pieces in a man's basement. There was no set. No props. Just one brilliant actor, a gripping story, and a fabulous lighting scheme. At the end of the show he revealed the horrible "monster," the shadow on the floor behind him slowly disappearing. It was the most brilliant and creepy thing I have ever experienced. The show ended and my friend and I looked at each other. We agreed. The next show needed to be a comedy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a girl, her kitten, and a rainbow

does it get any sweeter than that?

Absolut Fierce - the story

When my husband and I married he had 5 cats. Well, technically, BEFORE we got married he had 5 cats. Once we were married WE had 5 cats.

They were great cats, each with their own personalities.

Zachary was a fat, black cat. As long as he had enough food he was happy. If you entered the room he was in he would start purring in anticipation of being petted. If a warm breeze came by he would purr. He slept with all the other kitties (other cats deferred to the strict feline hierarchy in our home) and assumed everyone wanted to pet him. He would be ambling through the house and decide to lie down. Rather than lowering his frame to the ground he would just fall over onto his side (and usually start purring... you were planning on petting him, right?) Zach was the happiest cat I've ever known.

In 1997 we saw a movie called Fierce Creatures. The movie features John Cleese, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis (yes, that fabulous trio from A Fish Called Wanda) and is about the staff of a zoo struggling to deal with the changing policies of the zoo directors. One of the things that the zoo directors do is accept corporate sponsorships, and there's a funny bit showing animals with Absolut signs, including a tiger with an "Absolut Fierce" banner.

So it was that I gifted my husband with this framed photo of Zachary.
It was nearly impossible to get a picture. He actually didn't mind having the sign tied to him, but when I would back up to snap the shot he would walk towards me, wanting to be petted. Purring, of course. Fierce.

(Last week I titled a post Absolut Fierce and asked what movie it was from. No one got it. Now you know.)

Monday, October 26, 2009

After the beep: Monday Mission

Hey. This is Painted Maypole. I can't answer the phone right now because I'm at rehearsal for Fringe Show #1. And if I'm not there I'm rehearsing for Fringe Show #2. Yes, that's right, two shows, opening within 2 days of each other. I'm insane. So maybe I'm not answering because I've had a nervous breakdown. Or I could be sleeping, but that's highly unlikely. Regardless, I can't get to the phone. As you've already figured out. Please leave a message. I'd like to say I'll get back to you soon, but in reality I'll get back to you when I can... which will likely be AFTER the fringe festival ends on Nov. 15th. But give me a few days to sleep. Let's say... if you haven't heard from me by Nov. 18th then call me again and leave another message. Because I may lose this one in meantime, along with my mind.

Have a great day, and thanks for calling.

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 outgoing voicemail message. If you play along please leave a message after the beep... I mean... please leave a link in the widget below.

And that concludes our October Missions. Join us in November when our missions will be to write posts in the style of

Nov 2 a vocabulary list

Nov 9 a menu

Nov 16 a Villanelle (this is a type of poetry, another suggested by De, and since we had such fun with her last poetry suggestions I thought we'd try it again! One famous example of a villanelle is Dylan Thomas' poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night)

Nov 23 an Acrostic (you know, those poems they made you write in grade school where you wrote a word down the page, and then each line started with the letter... You could do a THANKSGIVING one, just like you did back in third grade this time of year, or you could come up with your own word)

Nov 30 A letter of regret

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sugar high

I saw a commercial today that I was SURE was one of those ironic, fake ones. The woman was SO overly sincere that I kept waiting for the punchline. Plus, it was so ridiculous. She was urgently complaining about how difficult it will be to feed her family if the government puts an extra tax on SODA and FRUIT JUICE. But the punchline was... that there WAS no punchline. Apparently the government wants to put a tax on "sugar sweetened" drinks.

You know... a tax on, as this Diet Cherry Coke junkie calls it, "a can full of chemicals" and "cup o' corn syrup."

How will we EVER feed our families? Golly, we might actually have to resort to drinking... *GASP* ... water!!!!

They want to use the money to help run new health care programs.

It's outrageous! Taxing sugar sweetened drinks that contribute to our national obesity problem is like taxing cigarettes because they cause cancer!

Oh wait...


* maybe diet sodas will escape the tax, since they aren't ACTUALLY sweetened with sugar. Hmm.....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Righting myself

If I didn't do theatre...

-My scrapbook would be up to date
-I would have a much smaller stack of books to read
-My house would be spotless
-My garden would be beautiful, fruitful, and weed free
-My files would be organized
-My child and husband would never feel neglected
-I would exercise every day
-I would write witty and/or thoughtful blog posts every day
-Every meal would be homemade
-I'd be making all my Christmas gifts, rather than buying craft supplies and then allowing them to collect dust
-I would be relaxed and never get testy with those I love
-I would return phone calls and e-mails in a timely manner

Mommy guilt is a common phenomenon. Thespian Mommy guilt is just a variation on the theme. I know the above list isn't true. I would not have it all together if I didn't do theatre. Although I might have some of it MORE together. But there would be so much that I would be missing, too, and that hole... that hole would get in the way of the other things nearly as much.

I feel sometimes like I'm walking a tightrope. If I lean too much towards one side it throws the balance all out of whack. Maybe that's what my shingles... a health problem that affects only one side of the body... were trying to tell me. I was leaning a bit too far to the theatrical side. I'm working on righting myself. But I can't do that too quickly either... jerk back to one side, overcorrect, and I could fall right off.

Just keep moving forward, one step at a time.

What would you be getting done if you weren't doing something else?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Absolut Fierce: Monday Mission

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission is to write a post in the form of a Tanga or a Nonnet (each is a specific type of poem, click on the word for a link to a description of the poetry). Mission suggested, again, by the fabulous de at An Indigo Virgo.

My entry is a Tanga - a five line poem (in this case a Tanka, 5-7-5-7-7) superimposed on an image. I am, admittedly, totally entranced with the idea of a nonnet, and may yet come back and write one of those. Someone humor me and get the ball rolling!

If you play along please put a link to your mission post in the widget below.

And join us next week, when your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form of an outgoing voicemail message.

Does anyone get the "Absolut Fierce" reference in my post title? (hint: not just the vodka... it's from a movie)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Little Pants Music

Alejna tagged me for a little music in my pants... the idea is you're supposed to put your iPod or whatever on shuffle and add "in my pants" to the end of every song title. Well, all I've managed to load onto my iPhone iPod feature is Prince's greatest hits, and that's just TOO easy (Cream in my pants, Gett Off in my pants, Sexy MF in my pants... Prince seems to be made for this meme!). So I decided to do the meme for my New Orleans Music CD Mix (2009 updated version). Here's a little New Orleans in my pants...

Bap Bap in my pants - Bonerama
Shake Your Rugalator in my pants - Craig Klein
Marie Laveau in my pants - Craig Klein
Fever for the Bayou in my pants– Tab Benoit
Night Train in my pants– Tab Benoit
Crankin’ It Off in my pants– Billy Iuso
Ruff in Da Stuff in my pants– Billy Iuso
Iko, Iko in my pants- Amanda Shaw
Crescent City Snow in my pants - Susan Cowsill
Hell or High Water in my pants - Beth Patterson
Home in my pants - Eric Orlando (Barstool Logic)
Foundation Remains in my pants - Mark Adam Miller (Deadeye Dick)
New Orleans in my pants - Fred LeBlanc (Cowboy Mouth)
Foot of Canal Street in my pants– Paul Sanchez (Cowboy Mouth) featuring John Boutte
Treme Song in my pants– John Boutte
Tchefuncte/On That Day in my pants - New Orleans Night Crawlers

for more fun with pants (including Show Tunes Pants and Shakespearean Pants) click here

I invite you (and your pants) to join me this Monday for our weekly Monday Mission. Your mission is to write a post in the form of a Tanga or a Nonnet (each is a specific type of poem, click on the word for a link to a description of the poetry). Mission suggested, again, by the fabulous de at An Indigo Virgo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tickled Clean Teeth

Dear friends, my first ever review is up at my review blog. Check it out, particularly if you're worried about your kids' dental hygiene, or if you think you might want to WIN a $100 Visa Gift Card or a gift pack from Sonicare.

Or just to support me in my first ever review. Maybe if I get lots of comments I'll get to review more stuff, and hey, this reviewing thing is fun.

Go now and read about how the May Queen giggled with glee over her new toothbrush. (I confess it made ME giggle, too)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day and night: Theatre Thursday

2 weeks ago I was in the midst of, and enjoying, an intensive 10 day run of a children's musical. I was getting on stage and singing and dancing and hamming it up in a bubblegum pink world in front of cheering young fans. Backstage we talked Disney and Broadway.

One night I went to the first rehearsal of my next project.

We met in a high ceilinged dance studio in an arts center. The large windows overlooked city buildings in the central business district. We sat in a circle on the floor. Makeup was scarce, serious theatre training cred was high. We read the play. Heard some of the original music. We moved around the room doing exercises that I had learned in a physical theatre intensive years ago in Los Angeles and have had very little opportunity to play with since.

My latest project is new. Raw. Political. Fringe.

It's worlds away from bubblegum pink.

And yet I felt right at home.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

to y'all - Monday Mission

Even before I moved to the south, I said ya'll. I just say it more often now. A lot more often. It's inclusive. It's gender neutral. It's charmingly southern. It's casual. It rolls off the tongue. Best of all, every time The May Queen says it I smile. So ya'll... raise your hurricane glass, or your mug of cafe au lait, or your Abita Amber (or your diet Coke or cup of coffee or whatever non-southern drink you might have with you at the moment)... here's to y'all.

This post has been a Monday Mission. Today's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form a toast (to anything! be creative!). If you write a Monday Mission please put a link to your post in the widget below (and if you want to steal the little Monday Mission button and use that in your post it will link back here for people to check out the other Monday Mission posts). This mission was suggested by the wonderful de at An Indigo Virgo.

Join us next week when your mission is to write a post in the form of a Tanga or a Nonnet (each is a specific type of poem, click on the word for a link to a description of the poetry). Mission suggested, again, by the fabulous de at An Indigo Virgo.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Video-licious: Theatre Thursday

Restraining an overwhelming desire to scratch has so taken over my day that I nearly forgot it was Thursday. Theatre Thursday!

But it just so happens that I received a video of one of last week's performances. It's not a very good video, and keep in mind that theatre never looks or sounds very good on video, and particularly video from a stationary camera set up in the back of the theatre without any direct audio feed. Plus, we're itty bitty and apparently you can't open the video into a larger version.(Qualify much?) But here's a little snippet (oh wow... turns out it's a long snippet! I thought I had trimmed it to just over 2 minutes, but it seems to go through to the end of the show. Don't feel obligated to watch all 20 minutes! Yikes! but if you're really bored...)

The truly best part of the video, which isn't in this snippet, is that I can hear The May Queen laughing hysterically at one point. It was her fourth viewing of a performance and she had attended several rehearsals as well. That's one satisfied customer.

Actually, it was really neat for her to see the process, and although she had never expressed any interest in the stage before (witness her unenthusiastic participation in Sunday School Christmas Pageants) she began talking about "what if [she] was P*nkalicious..." and is now signed up for a drama class at school. I don't expect it to become her thing (two actresses in the family? imagine the drama!) but I am glad that she is at least taking an interest in what I do. It's fun to share with her.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

not on my roof


I appear to be elderly.

I thought I had at least a few more years before this happened. I am, after all, only 35.

But today I was diagnosed with shingles. Fun. I thought the irritation in my armpit was from the elastic around the sleeves of the cute top I wore last Thursday. Then when it appeared on my arm I assumed it was from the same thing.

I thought the aches and pains were completely unrelated. I told my husband that I kept expecting to come down with a fever because of the aching. But the fever never came.

But then the rash on my arm seemed to spread a bit. And today it was on my chest. So I called the doctor. By some miracle I was sitting face to face with him within the hour.

The doctor took one look at it and said it looked like shingles. But that I was a little young to get shingles. But after more discussion of my symptoms he declared that yes, indeed, it must be shingles.


Shingles occur when a person who has had the chicken pox before becomes stressed or immune depressed, and the virus, which has been lying dormant in the nerves ever since the pox, gets activated. Usually shingles occur in people over 50.

And although I can't give someone else shingles, I can give someone who hasn't had the chicken pox or the vaccine the pox.

Someone like my daughter. Or my husband.

Or the 80 or so kids I work with at the preschool.

Actually, the doctor said that it's unlikely to spread because I don't have the cough and such that's associated with chicken pox, plus the rash is (at least so far) easily covered with clothes.

Between the shingles and my hurt foot? Let's just get me a walker and get it over with, shall we?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Nighttime Mambo No 5: Monday Mission

A little bit of sleepytime in my life
A little purring kitten by my side
A little shy of eight hours is all I need
A little bit of darkness is what I seek
I don't want to wake up with the sun
I want to sleep soundly all night long
My big soft pillow, here I am
Time to go to sleep beside my man


This post was a Monday Mission. Your Mission, should you choose to accept it is to write a post in the style of Mambo No. 5

Mission suggested by the fabulous de at An Indigo Virgo

If you play along (please play along! Mambo No 5 is so infectious you know you'll be humming it all day anyway, so go ahead and make up your own lyrics for it!) put a link to your post in the widget below.

Need more info on Mambo No. 5?

wiki info here

lyrics to the Lou Bega remake here

watch and listen to the remake here

Original lyrics

(very little is changed, but check this out:)

A little bit of Mardi Gras in my life
A little bit of carnival, it's alright
A little bit of cellulite, if you please
A little bit of mambo is all I need


Oh, we party down in the city
We gonna do New Orleans

(you know I love any reference to my beloved NOLA, but here comes my favorite part...)


(he he. this was the only site I could find with the original lyrics, and one line is
[Incomprehensible] . Love it)

And join us next week, when your Mission (also suggested by De!) is to write a post in the style of a toast (for an occasion of your choice, such as Anniversary, Wedding, New Baby, Birthday, New Home, Death, Curse, Holiday, Health, Love, Men / Husbands, Women / Wives, To Drink Itself... ed. note: if that's not enough to inspire you I don't know what is!)

I don't know what's up with the fonts in this post. It won't let me change them for some reason, even though it appears to change several times in the middle of the post. I give up. I'm going to bed.