Monday, May 24, 2010

Gone Fishin'

We had a fantastic time.  We arrived at the dock around 6a.  The boys were so excited. I'd made two dozen sandwiches, brought Little Debbie's, Gatorade, water, chips...  There was a ton of food.  My father brought beer for himself and Mr Blondie.  We weren't sure how big the boat really was but when we got there, there was plenty of space for all three coolers, the bag of misc stuff, and us.  They had a mini-fridge, a microwave, and even a stove inside the cabin.  There was a sofa sized bench and a couple chairs as well.

I pushed everyone to put on sunscreen, informed everyone (including the boat staff) of the vast quantities of food and beverage, and sat down on the bench in the cabin.  It was still a little cool and my head was splitting.  I took a decongestant and some Excedrin, then laid down.

I think I fell asleep around 730a, for about an hour.  My head was still unhappy when I woke up.  I'd missed the catching of the first two fish.  They were pulled in by MrBjr#3 and MrBjr#4.  Then MrBjr#2 pulled the next one, and Daddy pulled the fourth.  Then the next fish caught a line.  I really didn't want to fish, just observe and photograph.  However Mr Blondie talked me into pulling one in, so I did.  Here's proof...

Ewww...  They all wanted me to kiss the fish.  I refused.  Apparently it's good luck or something - I didn't care.  Not happening.  As I dropped the fish in the cooler, it decided to clamp it's mouth around my thumb.  Ouch ya bastard!  Can't wait to see you on the grill!  It only left a mark and didn't break the skin. At this point I figured out that my head just wasn't going to behave, so I hit the migraine meds.

Somewhere around 1030a, I fell asleep again.  Something about being on the boat just put me right to sleep.  The rocking on the water, the rumble of the engine, maybe my headache or the fact that we were up at 4a.... Whatever it was, I was out cold.  Next thing I knew, it was 1230p.

They had caught a few more by then, and had dug into the food.  The coolers kept everything nice and cold, and there was still plenty of ice, so everything was yummy.  The boys were making bets on which rod would catch the next fish and how big it would be.  It was all we could do to not say 'that's what she said!' at every opportunity.

We rolled back into the dock around 2p with 11 fish.  The max was 12.  The were all between 19 & 24 inches long.  The boys had never caught fish that big before.  The boat staff put the fish in a wheelbarrow and we took it to the guys on the dock who clean them.  You better believe I was going to have no parts of that.  If we couldn't get them cleaned by someone, they were going back in the water.

By 3p we were back on the road, heading to see Mr Blondie's fam 130 miles away.  We really did have a great time.  The boys actually seemed to enjoy each others company.  It was really nice.

Left to right: MrBjr#4, Mr Blondie, Daddy, MrBjr#2, MrBjr#3.  Plus me in the middle.  :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Gone Fishin' With Da Boyz

Mr Blondie, three of his four kids (all boys), my daddy, and me are going fishing.  The second youngest of the boys leaves for Parris Island on June 1, and we thought this would be a good way to get everyone together for something special before he leaves.  The oldest has to work the Brad Paisley concert at Nissan Pavilion (I refuse to call it Jiffy Lube Live.  That's just stupid.) and couldn't get out of it.  So we chartered a fishing boat and are going fishing.  We get on the boat at 6a and will be out until 2ish.  I'll have plenty of sunscreen!

Mr Blondie's little sister is also in town.  Her husband just got back from Iraq and they have a new baby, so we're going to see them on Sat eve & Sunday.  The boat and the 'Rent's place is 130 miles apart, and we live in the middle.  If I'm not on a boat, I'll be driving.  Whee!  I know I'm going to need a nap at some point, just not sure when I'm gonna get it.

Regardless of whether I get a nap or not, we're going to have a great time.  As long as I don't have to touch a fish...

Kitty Babies

I got my first baby girl in 1993 when I rescued her from the ceiling of the hardware store I was working in.  I got my baby boy 5 years later.  When Maggie passed, Zaphod was there to keep me company.  I never realized that after I lost him unexpectedly a couple years later <sniff sniff> I'd feel so empty.

Mr Blondie and I were living in my mom's basement.  My step-father had recently passed away, and we moved in to help her with bills and help us save money.  I knew Zaphod was a chunky cat, but I never thought much of it.  Since he was always indoors, I didn't take him to the vet as often as I should.  When I finally had the funds to take him, I made the appointment.  Two days before the appointment he stopped eating and drinking, his eyes started to sink in, and I got this sinking feeling in my gut.  At the vet appointment, the xray showed that he had a tumor that was so big in his tummy area, that if you looked straight down from his spine, his organs were on one side, and a tumor the size of a softball was on the other.  The next few days were just horrible.  I beat myself up, at the same time tried to get as much life and enjoyment from him as I could.  Then I put him down.

I never realized how empty a house could feel when you've had at least one cat in your life for 15 years.  I'm in a house with my mother, my husband, and my mother's three dogs and it still felt empty.  About two months later, Mr Blondie talked me into going to the pet store when the local foster group was having an adoption event.

That's where we found the twins.  They were about 11 weeks old, playful orange babies.  Tristan and Fiona are their names, and they were so cute!  Guess what day they were born?  On my birthday!  As I'm in tears over Zaphod, Mr Blondie pushed me to open the carrier.  Fiona crawled into my arms and into my heart.  Tristan followed right behind.  I couldn't put them down.  With their birthday the same as mine, I knew it was meant to be.

A month or so later it finally hit me how depressed I had been.  People say they're just animals.  In my world, they're my kids.  It's been almost a year and a half since we adopted them.  Having them around has been a joy.  While there is still a painful happiness that I experience when I think of Maggie and Zaphod, I know they're on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge playing and being happy.  And I'm happy too, with the addition of Tristan & Fiona. 

Please please please....  Spay and neuter your pets.  I'd be the crazy cat lady if Mr Blondie would let me.  At the same time I don't want to have to be the crazy cat lady.  Thanks.

Mr Blondie's New Toy

So the Blue Chariot of Fire (aka the Taurus) is on it's last legs.  It's got 130k miles on it, the a/c hasn't worked in over two years, and it needs some major front end & engine work.  So we got him this:

He is a very happy camper.  He's never in his life had a vehicle that he bought for himself.  He went from borrowing his father's truck, to a mini-van with car seats.  So this one is for him. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Love This...

The theater group's resident photographer took pictures the Thursday before we opened.  This is my favorite shot.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mark & Sean in Tysons!!

Mark Levin and Sean Hannity were in Tysons Corner at the Barnes & Noble for a book signing Saturday morning.  They started at 9a.  We'd been to one of Mark Levin's book signings before.  We'd arrived about 4 hours early, and there were already about 200 people there.  So this time we figured, since both Mark and Sean would be there, we'd really  need to get there early.  At the same time, I was at the theater the night before.  Getting up before dawn was not a happy thought.

I did set the alarm for 4a.  We managed to get out of the house about 445a.  When we got there, there were only about 50 people in line ahead of us.  Yay!  We pulled out the folding chairs that we brought, and made ourselves comfortable.

Last time, the mall staff was just plain evil.  It was pouring outside and we weren't allowed in the mall.  It was so bad that everyone was talking about emailing the mall management.  I did, and I'm sure most other irritated people did too. This time, the front of the line started at the lower level entrance to B&N, so the first 75 people or so were actually inside the building.  As long as we kept it more or less single file, they were fine with it. 

We chatted a bit with the people in line around us.  Tho I think after about 15mins I was asleep.  Mr. Blondie woke me up at one point and sent me to one of the mall benches where I promptly fell asleep again.  Around 8a he called me - wrist bands were being handed out and he wanted to take the stuff we didn't want to carry back to the car.

Around 845a Mark and Sean arrive.  They came in the same entrance where our line was, so we got to see them, shake hands, try and get pictures...  Sean shook my hand and I said, "Thanks for being here, Mark." He politely corrected me and went on his way.

Did I really say that?  I've seen them before.  I know which is which.  I felt so stupid.  That's a true blonde moment if I ever saw one...

Aww... Isn't He Cute!?!

Saturday night we were certain we were going to have a better show.  It didn't come without visitors and threats tho.

Before we opened the house, I needed to have a conversation with the director.  I spoke with his wife first and she gave her blessing.  The conversation went something like this:

"Mr. Director, if you get on headset ONE MORE TIME during the show, I will strangle you with the cord.  Understand?"

"Well, I... uh... well...  I'm taping the show the next two nights anyway, so I won't be able to."

"Excellent.  <peck on the cheek>  I love you, Mr. Director.  I'm glad I won't have to kill you."

At the end of the night, I did not have to kill him.

The show did go much smoother, thankfully.  However no one was very happy with our uninvited guest.  A little gray field mouse decided to join us.  He'd already been evicted from the theater three times.  At intermission he was back, cleaning up the crumbs people left on the floor.  Most of the audience was unaware of his presence.  The service dog that was accompanying his master was very aware tho.  Puppy was so good.  He didn't move from his master's feet, but his ears were up and his eyes followed that little mouse all over the place. 

As we were getting ready to close the doors for the start of the second act, our little mouse buddy took off into the theater.  No longer content to be in the lobby by himself, he joined the audience.  Of the audience members that knew about Mr. Mouse, only four left at intermission.  When the show was over and the audience had left, I was heading out and stopped in the lobby - I don't remember why.  Mr. Mouse was sitting in the middle of the floor, munching away on crumbs.  There were about five of us standing around watching him.  He'd run around us like we weren't there.  If we chased him he'd take off, otherwise he was a mini vacuum. 

Mouse - 1
Theater staff - 0

Monday, May 10, 2010

Who's Steering This Ship?

Wow.  I'm not sure what else to say.  Wow...

We did our first full run of the show on Thursday.  We had an audience on Friday.  I think we goofed up the timing on almost every cue, except for the final blackout before going home...  Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad, but 'clusterf*ck' would be a good description.  There is so much going on technically, most of which happens simultaneously, that we'd execute one thing, and while trying to figure out what we messed up we'd miss executing the next thing.  All of us were under a lot of strain - we're not used to being this disorganized on opening night.  To add to the tension, the director would get on headset when something was wrong.  Do you really think we can't tell the curtain is caught on something?  Our wonderful SM caught the brunt of all this.  God love her, she didn't kill anyone,  she didn't alienate anyone, and we got thru the whole thing without stopping.

The audience - while noticing that some things were probably not correct, didn't really seem to mind.  They only see what you show them.  Tho they did giggle at every blackout where they heard wheels squeaking. 

By the time opening night's show was over, we were ready for champagne.  The cast is out in the lobby with the director, being introduced to the audience, and we're back in the prop room throwing one back.  We were laughing at what went horribly wrong, and for those of us who couldn't see what happened in certain places, the sound guy and I were able to give vivid detail.

We finally wander to the lobby, just as the director was wrapping up his speech.  While we got cheers from the cast, all we could do is laugh/cry.  They introduced our SM, and I jumped up and down.  They introduced me, and she jumped up and down.  It was very funny.

Next stop: The Mouse is in the House!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

When Hell Week Really Is Hell

Ok, so I never really did a plot.  I used the house hang and tweaked it.  Of course even if I had done a plot, the majority of it would have changed, since the set didn't end up like we thought it would.  I had to fight for dark time, tho the people assembling the set had bigger issues than I did. 

There are two revolves - they didn't work as they should.  We're using two curtains besides the main drape, they're loud, difficult to access, and a challenge to pull smoothly.  We have NO running crew.  This show needs running crew.  The cast is being asked to do a lot of the changes - something that shouldn't have been necessary - but there seems to be a big problem finding running crew.  The set changes and curtain pulls have to be choreographed and very detailed for those doing them.  This show is much more complex in that regard than 90% of the shows this group typically does.  I've worked on productions like this with other groups, however the other groups have more stage time to prepare and have the manpower to make them work.  This show was kind of eye opening for everyone with this group. 

All that said...  My director is doing way too much.  He designed the set, and because things needed fixing he spent a lot of time working there.There were a whole bunch of little things that needed to be addressed, so he was being pulled in all sorts of directions.   It doesn't help tho, that he really wasn't sure what/when/how things would work until we got in the theater, leaving us all with unanswered questions and no time to really hammer it out.

My stage manager is an amazing person.  She's trying to execute all these things and with them not working, us being unsure of the timing, no help, and everyone being tired and frustrated, she's managed to keep her cool.  She did scare us last night tho, when she climbed a ladder after the run and nearly passed out, paint bucket in hand.  It doesn't help that our ASM is a controlling bitch either.  She's going around demanding things that while are needed at some point, aren't needed now.  The set changes need to be ironed out.  Once that happens, then I'll tell you where a light cue is that is completely unrelated to any set changes anywhere.

I wish I'd had the time to blog more earlier this week.  So much fun stuff has happened, but between work and the show I've been too busy, and completely exhausted.  Hoping to change that.