Thursday, April 30, 2009

May Day songs, crafts and activities

This time of year the traffic on my blog goes way up as people are searching for all things Maypole and May Day. So in an effort to give the masses what they want, I thought I'd post what I plan to do at our may day festivities this year. You're welcome, internets. (And sorry... I should have done this sooner. I have been a bit busy.)

First of all I'll pull the May Pole out of the closet, where it has sat since last year. I made it out of a broom handle by winding ribbon around the pole and securing with tape, then tying several long ribbons to the loop in the top. I jerry-rigged a stand by putting the pole in a cup full of rocks inside a bucket full of rocks. Then I tossed some flowers on top of the rocks to make it look pretty. Admittedly, after a few times around the pole it came loose and got a little wobbly. I will try to come up with a better system this year.
Last year the girls loved just going around the pole. They did it over and over and over. If they seem in the mood maybe this year I'll have them sing:
Ring around the Maypole
with flowers from the fairies we stole

Ribbons, Ribbons

We wind around!

You can find more songs here.

It is said that fairies are a bit easier to find on May Day, and so this year I plan to do more fairy crafts. Like these flower friends and petal fairies I found at Family Fun. Maybe we'll even make a fairy house.

Since our guests may not still have their floral crowns from last year I think I'll make floral headbands by hot gluing felt flowers on plastic headbands

I think we'll make some cool flowers out of soda bottles. See a photo tutorial here.

We may color some coloring sheets that I found here, here, and here.

If I have enough empty glass bottles around I may decorate with these May "Baskets." Find more may basket ideas at The Crafty Crow

If that's not enough ideas for you, you can check out last year's May Day party plan and learn why I call myself Painted Maypole, and thus have adopted May Day as my blog's official holiday.

With all this May Day hullabaloo, I have to confess that on the actual day I will not be dancing around the Maypole, but rather I'll be dancing around jazz fest. We'll celebrate over the weekend, and I hope to have some pictures to post then.

Happy May Day!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Giving Good Face

I've been thinking about what makes a good Facebook status, and I've narrowed it down to three key things. A good status invites your friends to laugh with you (Painted Maypole's hammock just fell out of the tree. With her in it. Ouch.), celebrate with you (Painted Maypole got the part!) and/or commiserate with you (Painted Maypole really wishes she had heeded the advice "Leaves of three, don't touch me."). The occasional question or request is permitted (Painted Maypole would like to know who else will be at Jazz Fest this Friday.). Pure information sharing should be kept to a bare minimum.

Under no circumstances should you have a status report informing all of your friends that you are at work... unless of course it's the first day at a new job or something (which is then inviting your friends to celebrate with you). And while I am all for political discourse, 2-3 posts per day railing against Obama will get you blocked.

What do you think makes a good - or bad - status report?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


In rehearsal, when you are on stage and can't remember your line, you are to simply call out "line" and the stage manager will begin to feed you your line until you can pick it up and run with it.

I did manage to memorize the whole show. I've had to call for line a few times, and there are two or three places that always throw me off for some reason, but I plan to have them nailed by tomorrow because that's the end of calling for line. I think I'll get there. I'll likely flub one or two, but I'll keep going. Just like I would with an audience. It's good practice for when we open in a little over a week.

I'm worried, however, that I may need to have more than my own lines memorized. Oddly enough, it's not the brand new actor who doesn't know his lines. He's pretty solid. It's the stage veteran playing my father. He's struggling. He knows he's struggling, then he gets frustrated, and drops his lines even more. We've already gotten together once outside of rehearsal to work on lines, and are trying to set up another time.

The problem is: although I'm the central character in the show and onstage nearly the whole time, there are huge chunks of the show that I am not driving. I am reacting. And it's pretty hard to nudge along the scene from that position. So even though I often know exactly what is supposed to come out of his mouth next, I am not sure how I will ever help him get there. It will be interesting.

And here is where I feel like I need to have the perfect line to end the post and sum it all up. But I don't. Instead, I'll just give you one of the lines I say oh so many times in the play... so much, in fact, that it's sometimes difficult to remember if I say this or one of my other one word lines.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

The first of May

The first of May will quickly come

Where has the past year gone?
How can it be in four short days
This May will have its dawn?

Like ribbons round the tall may pole
the days and months do swirl
A weave of color life creates
each day with my sweet girl
So come this weekend and you'll spy
The sweet May Queen and me
With ribbons 'round the broom handle
as we dance and leap with gleeJoin us as we welcome spring:
a fairy you may find
a-dancing in our garden fair
as round the pole we wind.
*all photos from our 2008 May Day celebration

This post has been a Monday Mission, in which I shamelessly asked you to write a post in the style of a May Day poem or song to help me celebrate the holiday I've adopted as my own here at Painted Maypole. If you choose to so humor me, please leave a little link in the widget below

And if you'd like to use this little nifty button on your blog, you may

And May is upon us, which means a whole new month of missions. I think after May we will take a break for the summer, so let's make this a fun month, shall we? Your May Missions, should you choose to accept them, are to write posts in the style of

5/4 - a cast list. Take a book or story or play or TV show and cast it... with fellow bloggers or your favorite actors. Play casting director for the day. This fun idea comes to you courtesy of No Mother Earth, who cast bloggers in a book she was reading.

5/11- song titles. See how many song titles you can jam into one blog post. In high school my best friend and I used to write stories this way all the time. It passed the time in our boring classes. I had the idea when I was on a streak of titling all my blog posts with song lyrics. I have to say, I am rubbing my hands in glee over this one.

5/18- a discussion between characters/bloggers/historical figures. Mad did this brilliantly, and I thought it would be fun to imagine a conversation between characters from different sources.

5/25- a "What I did on my summer vacation" essay. Yes, before summer vacation.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Red Socks

For Alejna

and her Red Socks

(a page from Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer, a recent favorite of MQ's. As we were reading it at bedtime tonight I thought "I have to post this for Alejna!!")

And throw me a little love this Monday, when your Mission (should you choose to accept it. please, please accept it) is to write a post in the style of a May Day song or poem. I'm totally being greedy here. Help me celebrate the impending May Day. We are dancing around the Maypole, you know. (To see the festivities from last year's May Day click here. To see the May Day crown I made with my own little hands and gave away last year and to read a May Day poem by Tennyson click here. To learn why I celebrate May Day and to get a plan for a May Day party, including links to crafts, songs and more click here.)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Jazz Fest, ya'll

An afternoon at Jazz Fest was just what we needed after a funeral earlier in the day.Amanda Shaw
Tab Benoit

The videos aren't long, if you'd like a little listen. I wish I could also give you a little taste of the crawfish bisque and creole cream cheesecake with strawberries. Yum. The margarita was pretty good, too. (why they are not selling hurricanes is beyond me, but at least I had an extra strong one last weekend at the French Quarter Festival)

Tab Benoit, his mom (on the dual tamborines) and someone I don't know... but she sure knows how to use a tambourine!! Maybe I should try that in church this Sunday.

Rockin' Dopsie Jr. on the washboard. Because it is not Jazz Fest until someone plays the washboard. (And the accordian. And no way can you get out of here without a trombone, and even if you could, why would you want to?)

Here's your token trombone, and it doesn't get any better than Craig Klein with The New Orleans Nightcrawlers. A band I saw and loved at my first fest 4 years ago. Those of you who won my NOLA music CD giveaway last Mardi Gras will recognize this song, Can of Worms.

Tab and Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. together. Because they did.

(I regret that I did not get video of Amanda Shaw's Devil Went Down to Georgia)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rumble in the Jungle

I wrote a few weeks ago about sending school supplies to a small preschool in the jungle, the school where Jen's lovely daughter M is currently learning more than her ABC's. Many of you responded with donations, thank you. I plan to get something shipped in the next day or two, so if you thought about donating and have not, now is the time! E-mail me at pntdmaypole AT yahoo DOT com if you would like my paypal account for easy and safe online donations. (also, if you've sent her some supplies already, if you would let me know WHAT you've sent, I'll try not to duplicate stuff)

If you're a reader of Jen's blog, you know she's having a rough go of it right now. I, for one, am looking forward to sending her a little love via the USPS.

AND... I have just learned, today is Jen's Birthday! Go give her a little birthday love!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A word problem. In more ways than one.

An actress has 65 total pages of dialogue (of a 68 page script... allowing for the 3 pages she is not on stage), and has memorized 51 pages in 20 days. If she keeps memorizing at the same pace, how many more days does she have until she has memorized the whole script?

What if the learning curve increases by 50% towards the end of the memorization process, because of the time the actress has spent working on the as of yet unmemorized pages?

And what if the actress is no longer spending 2-3 hours a night obsessively watching Slings and Arrows (after rehearsals!) in an attempt to finish the series and get the DVD back to the library before a late fee is incurred, thereby increasing her time to work on her lines by appx 100% per day (assuming that she spends some of that regained 2-3 hours doing other things, like, oh, housework).

Keep in mind that in order to retain those previously memorized 51 pages, they must still be regularly reviewed. Reviewing takes about 15% of the time it takes to memorize new lines.

Given all the factors above, when can the actress expect to have the whole script memorized?

(Never... if she keeps blogging...)


This post has been a Monday Mission. Today's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a math problem or proof. (Please keep in mind that I'm not a mathematician, I just play one on the stage). If you get your Monday Math Mission on, please leave a link in the widget below.

And join us next week, when your mission is to write a post in the style of a May Day song or poem. I'm totally being greedy here. Help me celebrate the impending May Day. We are dancing around the Maypole, you know. (To see the festivities from last year's May Day click here. To see the May Day crown I made with my own little hands and gave away last year and to read a May Day poem by Tennyson click here. To learn why I celebrate May Day and to get a plan for a May Day party, including links to crafts, songs and more click here.)

Kaye, at The Road Goes Ever On, made this nifty little button,

that you can use to link to me if you participate in Monday Missions. Thanks, Kaye!

(I think all you need to do is highlight the button, copy it, and paste it into your blog post. It seems to have worked for me)

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to memorize I go...

Monday, April 13, 2009

A happy ending... or at least a happy middle

Rehearsals are going well. It's such a joy to be working on a play that I love. Even when I'm doing the often tedious memorizing of lines I'm discovering things... like how the first speech about Sophie Germain is lecturing, but in the second one... she really gets caught up in her passion. And of course I'm a geek and I'm researching mathematicians online and... It's good. It's fun. I'm onstage the entire time in rehearsal (I think there are three whole pages of the script that I'm off) and it's great to be WORKING. It's what I love.

There have been good things about all 5 of the shows I've worked on previously this season. But this? This is the bomb.

The new guy is working out pretty well. He's totally green. He auditioned sort of on a lark, but he was talking today about how he started off just kind of wanting to see if he could do it, and now he really wants to "rock it." He takes direction and is working hard. It's fun to see his enthusiasm. I think he's got the bug. God help him. He was even off book today for one of our scenes. Impressive.

So... Yay. After all that stress it's working out. It's coming together.

(I was going to title this post "Putting It Together," but then I remembered I already did that. That's the danger of thinking so often in song lyrics. Which gives me a great idea for a Monday Mission....)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

With Deepest Sympathy

To all my dear, dear friends who live in colder climes,

It is with great sadness that I acknowledge that you had to celebrate this Easter day, a day of renewal and rebirth, all bundled up. It is with sorrow that I reflect on how you had to cover up your colorful new clothes with coats, or shiver during outdoor photo opportunities. It is with the deepest of sympathy that I think upon the soil in your gardens, still frozen.

But it is with greatest remorse that I acknowledge that I am THAT friend. The one who would post this picture.
May the knowledge of our resurrected Lord comfort you on this day.

Much love,

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 a sympathy card.

Upcoming Monday Missions for the remainder of April are to write posts in the style of:

4/20 - a mathematical equation or proof. Because by this point I should be pretty well entrenched in rehearsals, and math will be on the brain.

4/27 - A May Day song or poem. I'm totally being greedy here. Help me celebrate the impending May Day. We are dancing around the Maypole, you know.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lessons from Legos

I recently pulled out a box full of legos from my youth, and this afternoon the May Queen and I sat on the floor creating. There's something about the (very LOUD) sound of digging through a box of lego pieces that is oddly satisfying (although I was admonished to dig more quietly).

I found that there were some lessons to be learned from the legos:

The best homes have lots of windows.

There's no need for a TV....

As long as you have lots of books.

Bald is beautiful...

But remember to wear a hat when you are outside
(also... lots of flowers make for a nice garden to sit in)

The May Queen taught me that if there is no room for an oven inside, it is OK to put it in your front yard. This is not considered trashy, but "fantasy land." She reasoned "if I can park my flying car in my house, you can put your oven in your front yard." Hard to argue with that. I'll think of it as a lovely outdoor brick oven that I use when I have my plastic neighbors over for an organic cookout.

Best of all, The May Queen learned that a little imagination goes a long way when you have a box of Legos.

Speaking of Legos, have you seen The Brick Testament? It's Bible stories illustrated with Legos. Sense of humor required.
I haven't been blogging much, I know. Life, and all that. I did get my tax returns filed, and have been enjoying rehearsals. I've been trying to resist the urge to post "just because." But the muse struck this afternoon, for what it's worth.

Monday's Mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a Sympathy Card. Maybe my blog needs a little sympathy for it's current anemia.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The blogging equivalent of morning pages

The overhead fan is making me chilly and I have a headache... again... or perhaps still is more correct it seems it is nearly every day lately. I am looking forward to not stressing about finding another actor for the play, though, we finally - FINALLY! have one as of about an hour ago and although he has pretty much no experience he gave a good reading, took direction well and is genuinely excited about the part. And best of all he is not in high school. Yippee. So we'll see how he does in rehearsal tomorrow but at least I can stop calling and begging every actor I know, and many, many that I don't and can go back to learning my lines which I have neglected for last several days.

Of course I still have to do my taxes and figure out all that VBS stuff and organize the Easter Egg hunt for Sunday, so it's not like I'm going to be relaxed or anything, and oh yeah, as soon as I am done with this blog post I will get started on my "homework" for my bible study. I have 36 hours to do 5 days worth so that should be a laugh. sigh. If I'm not ready to fall asleep at that point maybe I can sneak in the last episode of Slings and Arrows' first season which is so funny, oh my, you all must really watch it. It's a Canadian TV show about a Shakespearean Theatre Company and I can't count the amount of times I have laughed out loud and trust me, I have needed those laughs these last few days.

And typing about all this stuff I need to do makes me want to go and get started on them and so that's all for today folks. Adieu.
This post has been a Monday Mission and in case you couldn't tell the mission this Monday is to write a post in a stream of conscious ramblingg, which really anyone should be able to do, you basically just type as fast as you can as the thoughts come to you and then hit publish. Or you can get all anal about it and spend a lot of time crafting a post that SOUNDS stream of conscious but is really a carefully crafted piece of writing. I am far too tired to do that tonight, but if YOU'RE up for it knock yourself out.


so what's on your mind?

let the stream flow then put a linky below

Upcoming Monday Missions for April are to write posts in the style of:

4/13 - a sympathy card

4/20 - a mathematical equation or proof. Because by this point I should be pretty well entrenched in rehearsals, and math will be on the brain.

4/27 - A May Day song or poem. I'm totally being greedy here. Help me celebrate the impending May Day. We are dancing around the Maypole, you know.

Post Script:
If you've done Julia's Cameron The Artist's Way you understand the title. If not... well, one of her exercises to have you write three pages of stream of consciousness in the morning. I stand (er... sit) here before you confessing that I pretty much never did them in the morning. I made a pact with myself simply to do them at some point each day. Being a night person I knew if I tried to do it every morning I would have quit the first day. Although I am sure there is a benefit to doing them first thing. I just knew I wouldn't be able to keep up.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Help! I need somebody....

I'm really lucky to have a husband who is understanding about the fact that I kiss other men (ON STAGE of course - read all about it on that link... one of the most visited pages here on my blog. Apparently there is a lot of interest in stage kissing out there on the web). This has become obvious this week as the guy cast to play opposite me in the show I am so excited about doing had to step down because his wife was uncomfortable with him kissing me on stage (should I take that as a compliment??)

But now we're searching high and low for a new guy. There's a high school senior who would love to play the part, but as professional as I try to be about the whole dealing with whoever is cast opposite me thing, I just cannot kiss a guy who literally goes to school with kids (yes, KIDS) I directly supervise in both paid and volunteer positions at my church. (and for some reason I just cannot stop singing "Koo koo ka choo Mrs. Robinson...")

And if we don't find someone I will have to step down. I have been calling and e-mailing every last person I can think of.

It just stinks. I have often thought it would be much easier to act if I were a man (way more parts, far less competition). It's ridiculous. This is a beautifully written, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play. It's a great part. People should be lined up to compete for the role. And we're practically begging people to do it.

I'm stressed out. My heart is sick.

I need to get back on the phone.