Thursday, March 25, 2010

Festival!

We had our final dress rehearsal of the cut version of Escanaba in Da Moonlight tonight. I'd like to thank Mr. Mike Greene for providing our rehearsal space at Sierra Interiors in Bristol. Tomorrow we (and when I say we, I mean the other guys, not me because I have to work) load up the truck and drive it down to Muncie. We'll get there sometime in the evening, Steve and I, after work and such. But tonight we had a solid 56 minutes with an audience, so I'm really pleased. I think we're in a good spot, and I'm excited about our performance Saturday morning. If any of you can make it down to Muncie Civic Theatre, our performance time is 11:30 a.m. and we'd love to have you cheer us on. A great big thanks, also, to my friend BILL!!!! who is going to be there sitting next to me :)

I started and finished an audiobook in the past week. "Strange Angels" by Lili St. Crow. I picked it up because the cover looked interesting and it was sitting on top of the youth section as I walked past. It was NOT a youth book. Well, it was about a teenage hunter (hunter of vampires/werewolves/zombies/etc) but the language was atrocious for being in or even near the youth section of the Middlebury Community Library. I didn't even know people in Middlebury knew some of the words in there. At any rate, the story itself wasn't bad. It got a little weary in parts, but any book that starts with a seventeen-year-old girl who has to kill her father because he's a zombie rates right up there in my book. I enjoyed it. Today after I did my huge ton of grocery shopping, I left it in my CD player of my car while I unloaded and put away groceries and had it turned up full blast so I could listen to it from the garage. The dogs were befuddled. Doobie also does not like my birthday card from Steve, as it plays the Charlie Brown music. He runs from it in fear. I think he's intimidated because he is not as cool as Snoopy.

It's time for bed. Actually, PAST time for bed, but I drank a Mountain Dew recently and took a nap earlier, so of course I'm not tired even though I have to wake up in less than six hours. Let's see if lying in a dark room will put me to sleep. Doubtful.

Wish us luck at festival!

SJS

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Maybe Once a Week?

That's about how often I've been getting back to this blog. There are all sorts of things I need to catch up on. When festival is over, I might get back into the swing of things.

Watched "The Princess and the Frog" this morning, which was nice. I love New Orleans Jazz. Also doing laundry. (Wheeeeee.) But get this: I've been READING! (Yayyy!)

Last night I finished "100 Years, 100 Stories" by George Burns. I find it helps to read books by comedians in between everything else. They're quick and funny and keep my attention. Apparently, part of me is still a six-year-old and needs to be entertained in short spurts.

My husband got me the entire series of Ally McBeal on DVD for my birthday! I absolutely adore that show. I liked it when it first came out, but I missed almost the entire first season. And now that I'm older, I can appreciate it even more.

I spent the day in Frankenmuth with my mom and little sister for my birthday. 20 miles into my drive I got pulled over (at 6:ish in the morning) for my broken headlight and got a warning. Then, about halfway through the trip, Mapquest once again became a liar and didn't tell me an exit I needed to take, so I went about five miles out of my way and back. But the day itself was nice, and then I drove straight back to rehearsal in Bristol and didn't get home until about 10:30 that night.

It's been a relaxing weekend so far. Here's hoping for more!

SJS

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ahh, Saturday

Saturday is my favorite day of the week, I think. It's so relaxing most of the time, at least when I'm not traveling. I got to sleep in today, read the rest of a book that I started last night, watched "Precious", and made breakfast burritos. We also have "The Informant" to watch because I need a bit of levity after such a powerful, heartbreaking movie. And we're debating between Subway and Pizza Hut for dinner. I'm a big fan of staying in my robe, which I have not changed out of yet today, so I'd like someone to deliver. If they could deliver wings and Chinese food, that's probably what I'd go for.

Late last night, I started "A Walk to Remember" by Nicholas Sparks. Part of the reason is because I had never actually read anything by Nicholas Sparks, and the other reason is that I knew I could read it quickly and add another book to my list. I almost feel like I'm cheating when I do something like that, but I was up front at the beginning about throwing a "Little Golden Book" in there now and then to keep up my quota. Since "Under the Tuscan Sun" took so long, and "Forever Fifteen" is apparently the longest, most boring audiobook on the face of the planet, I needed to feel that I was actually accomplishing something towards my goal. Now I can add one. Heck, I might just read another Nicholas Sparks novel tonight. Probably not. It was sad. I'm a bit overwhelmed with sad lately.

Tomorrow we're going to church in the morning. Mitch Albom is going to be there, which is quite exciting to me! Then we have rehearsal for Escanaba, then the boys have rehearsal for Glee Club.

I guess I should go figure out dinner, eh?

Have a great Saturday night!

SJS

Friday, March 12, 2010

Falling off the Wagon

Yeah. I'm not writing everyday. I know. You don't have to tell me. I'm also not reading everyday, either. Pretty much the only thing I am doing everyday is getting up and thinking "Ugh. Do I really have to get up?" And most of the time, the unfortunate answer is, "Yes."

Tonight we went to the Bristol Opera House to see Elkhart Civic Theatre's premiere of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!" I love the show, personally. I think the songs are hilarious and thoroughly true to real life dating/marriage/kids/etc. I recommend you see it if you're in the area. Call for tickets at 574-848-4116 M-F after 1pm. Great job directing, Marcia Fulmer!

Also tonight, we watched "A Serious Man". Those Coen brothers, I tell ya. A very good movie with a typical Coen brothers ending. Enjoy.

Danny got my tape in the mail. He was, I believe, "slightly displeased" that I sent him a spoken version of "Twilight", a book I love to which he has taken a staunch dislike without having read it. He'll listen to it at some point and thank me. Or I will travel to Ann Arbor and throw pink Whoppers at him while he's sleeping.

Here's something that irritates me. In fact, it's been irritating me more and more as of late. At what point in our lives did we come to a place where we cannot sit for an hour without getting up, talking, texting, taking a phone call, using the restroom, chewing gum, unwrapping candy, etc? It seems that each time I go to the theatre or to the movies, regardless of how short the show or the act is, people cannot just sit and enjoy it. For instance, tonight, during a 50 minute first act, someone incessantly chewed their gum with a vengeance and a great deal of saliva in their open mouth right behind me while they read everything on the screen out loud as if no one else near them could read it for themselves, repeated words from the scene out loud that they thought were of particular interest to them, and had a bag of goodies from which they kept removing different things to pop into their mouth. Another person had to get up to use the restroom, and another had to do some very important text messaging which may not make noise but the shiny backlight... yeah, OTHER people can see that, too. Not just you. I just appreciate silence and respect so much more than I used to and it seems that there is so much less of it than there once was. I can just see myself on stage at some point, breaking character and shouting, "YOU! Yeah, in the third row! Did you not hear the 'turn your cell phone off' announcement!? And for the love of God, can you take your wailing toddler OUT of the auditorium so the people who paid just as much as you did can enjoy the show?"

Now I'm irritated to the point where I can no longer write.

Maybe I should read?

SJS

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Night

I had no idea so much snot could reside inside of my head. Yeah, I know, you're welcome for the visual. I'd be enjoying the Academy Awards a heck of a lot more if I could watch it for five minutes straight without having to blow my nose or sneeze with the force of a hurricane.

"Alice in Wonderland" was really good, but very strange. I have to admit, I fell asleep once, but if you read my blog last night (this morning) you'd understand why. I was up until 3:30 in the morning and, yes, I did, in fact, alphabetize our videotapes.

I didn't read anything today, but I'm getting ready to start something new since I finally finished "Under the Tuscan Sun". I didn't realize that "The Inhuman Condition" was a collection of short stories (I might have mentioned that before) and I'm now working on the second story in there, but I'll have to get back to it tomorrow. I have a lot of rehearsals for Escanaba coming up, so not a lot of evening time available.

Incidentally, for what it's worth, I absolutely LOVED the movie "Up". It made me cry. Hard. And it's a very rare movie that does that. So for any of you who haven't seen it yet, get out there and rent it. The blu-rayer, the better.

Sadly, I stepped away from the couch to type this and my husband just usurped my position on my side of the couch, so I'm going to have to remedy that situation now and finish watching the Oscars. Hope you have a wonderful evening!

SJS

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Off With Your Head!

Going to see Alice in Wonderland tomorrow... oh, wait... TODAY! I'm so excited!

Still sneezy. I guess this might be a cold or something. But it's been a nice, relaxing weekend so far. Last night the boys' friend Tyler spent the night because they had an invitational this morning and had to be to the school by 5am. We got pizza and crazy bread and Mountain Dew, watched movies and went to sleep. This morning I c r a z y slept in until noon which was fantastic, let me tell you. Then we took our daughter out to eat with some friends at Wings, Etc. in Elkhart. They have 39 cent wings right now, so the three of us ate for like, $25 with drinks and loaded fries. Oh, yeah. Sooooo. Gooooood. Not as good as Buffalo Wild Wings, though, I gotta say. Less expensive right now because of the wing special, but not quite the same goodness. Spicy sauce was lovely. Steve couldn't believe I ate wings so spicy when he tried one. However, the spicy award goes to Anson Wood. He's dropped over 50 lbs in the last 8 weeks in our Biggest Loser contest at work, so his prize was to go get wings... and he got the "Wall of Flame" wings, ate sixteen of them without any other food or drink, and got his picture taken to put on the wall. Things were all right until about wing 12 when he started turning a pinkish color and breaking out into a sweat. Still, it was fun to watch. No way in the pit of Hades I'd try that stunt, though. I'll just eat my wussy half-spicy wings and enjoy my cheesy fries, thanks. It was great to hang out with Marla and Anson, though. They're great peeps.

Peeps. I hate those things at Easter. They are icky. However, funny peep story ... my first year in college at the dorm, I walked home from class one day to find four boxes of opened peeps sitting in front of a dorm window with a sign up that said "Peep Show". It was adorable until it rained. Then, kinda back to icky. What's weird is, I like marshmallow stuff if it's covered in chocolate. I am an enigma.

And can someone tell me why I have fits of ambition around midnight? I just overhauled our office, took five plastic storage bins (two new ones I bought at Walmart while grocery shopping after wings) full of stuff down to our storage room, cleaned out my desk and gathered up a bunch of stuff that my mom wanted so that I can take it to her tomorrow. Now I have an uncanny pull towards pulling all of our videotapes down and alphabetizing them because my husband randomly said that if I alphabetized them he'd watch them all in order. I'll also be able to see if we have any doubles of any movies, too. But it's 1:37 in the morning right now, and what kind of freak alphabetizes videotapes at 1:37 in the morning!?

I can't sleep until my sons are home anyhow, so I might as well do it.

Sigh.

SJS

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hack, Hack, Cough, Sneeze

Bleeeccccch. I am not sick, I am just still hacking up smoke from when we sang karaoke on Wednesday night. But I'm still riding high on life because I finally got to sing my favorite song in the entire world that night, Close to Me by the Cure. I might just sing it every single time we go to karaoke. It's worth all the hacking.

I am on disc 7 of 9 in this "Forever Fifteen" audiobook, and there has yet to be some sort of actual plot. The entire however-many-hours-I've-listened have been back story. All of it. Nothing has actually happened except for the vampire girl is dating a boy at her school. Hooray. How exciting. Danny, I swear I'm going to make you pay for this. Something really, really, really cool had better happen at the end or I will hunt you down in Ann Arbor and ... I don't know. Do something you won't like. Grr.

I'm almost finished with "Under the Tuscan Sun". I'm pretty sure I started it back in January. It really began well, and I was excited about it, but then it just sort of fizzled and became more of a chore than anything else. I think the reasoning is much the same as the last story I was just talking about -- it's all back story, no plot. Nothing is happening. There is a lot of description, albeit beautiful description, but there's no real point to the story. Sadly, this is one of the few times I prefer the movie over the book. But I have only a chapter left, I believe, so I'm going to go throw myself into a hot bubble bath (which my little sister claims solves most of life's problems, and I tend to agree with her) and finish the story if it kills me. Which it won't, unless it falls on my neck and I get a nasty paper cut and bleed out before anyone notices I'm still in the tub after four hours, and this imagination is what I get from being raised on horror movies.

Tonight we'll be watching Zombieland and 2012 on Blu-Ray and I'm mostly excited about Zombieland. It seems right up my alley. We might even get a couple of pizzas and some pop and just stay up all night. Well, not all night. We're pretty old.

The house is nice and quiet right now. I'd better go get in the tub before I jinx it........

SJS

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Back to Da Grind, eh?

So today was my first day back at work after five days off and a funeral. I'm not sure I was completely emotionally prepared to deal with people that anger me. I was in a rotten mood most of the day, especially when some guy called on the phone and said "I want a smoothie." I had a couple of people in line, so I asked him to hold for a moment. Took care of the people, came back, and he still didn't know what kind of smoothie he wanted. (I'm big on the 'please' and 'thank you' thing, so he'd already set me off.) Anyhow, I don't want to go off about that.

I DO want to go off about the crazy guy who tried to kill me with his car. Out of nowhere, on a back country road on my way home from the bank, this psycho going 70 MPH starts passing me in a no-passing zone, slams on his brakes in front of me, weaves in and out of the yellow line and white line, zooms up to the next intersection, then slams on his brakes, turning his car sideways, and starts yelling at me out his window halfway into the intersection. I rolled down my window, and he screamed some profanity at me, accusing me of pulling out in front of him (I did not do so). I was not going to argue with this dude, as he looked like he probably had an arsenal in his back seat, so I apologized to him, followed him at a far distance, and called 911 to report him. Hope he was as drunk as I think he was, and that they caught him.

I'm watching Parenthood, the new TV series, and it is fantastic. I am completely invested in all of the characters already. It's based on the old movie with Steve Martin, Rick Moranis, Tom Hulce, Jason Robards, Martha Plimpton, Joaquin Phoenix (Leaf back then, before he changed his name to the more rolling-off-the-tongue "Joaquin"). LOVE it. Can't wait to see more.

I've been reading! Yes, I have. I'm almost, almost, almost done with "Under the Tuscan Sun", a bit further in "The Inhuman Condition", and halfway through "Forever Fifteen" which sttiiiiiiiinks. More on all of that later.

I'm too unfocused and tired to write more, so I'll sign off for tonight. Back soon!

SJS

Monday, March 1, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

Tuesday night: packed for trip, slept as much as possible.

Wednesday: packed the van, drove to work with Steve. Was scheduled until 1:00 so I gassed up the vehicle when I punched out, bought Steve a couple of shirts at Goodwill, and got myself a pair of sunglasses at the drug store, then came back to pick Steve up from work. He wasn't quite done, so I helped wash some dishes and such until he was able to leave. I got to drive for awhile -- yay! A rare occasion, since Steve usually drives everywhere. Sadly, I find I don't enjoy driving as much as I used to. I started to get a little sleepy and the weather turned on me, so we pulled over at a rest area and he took over the driving. Then we got some DUNKIN' DONUTS at the Illinois State line, ate in the parking lot, and drove on to Midway Airport. I called home more than once to check on the family and on Grandpa. Many people were at the hospital and they said he wasn't going to be there much longer, but to continue with the trip because no one knew if it would be hours or days or a week. I had said my goodbyes on Tuesday and, though I missed being with the family together at the hospital, I was glad they were all there together and I knew Grandpa would want me to go anyhow.

The first leg of the trip, from Chicago to Minneapolis, wasn't bad. I don't mind flying. I just mind the take-off and the first few minutes of climbing in the air. I always feel, at some point early on, like "this large metal object is not meant to be in the sky and will be falling out of it like a Looney Tune character off a cliff any second now". Then I'm fine. When we arrived in Minneapolis, we had about 45 minutes before our next plane took off. On the way to find the gate, I tried calling my mom's phone but couldn't reach anyone. I called my little sister and she informed me that Grandpa had just passed away, very peacefully. On one hand I was relieved, on the other I was sad I missed being there with everyone else, and on the other hand (if there were a third one) I thought about how much I'd actually miss him -- he'd been a much bigger part of my life the last decade than he ever had while I was growing up. As we stood in line for boarding the next plane, I cried, not caring who saw me, and my husband held me, luggage in hand. He's a good man.

Thursday (or still Wednesday, depending on what time zone you're in): We landed at 11:30pm Wednesday night, which is 2:30am back home, in Fabulous Las Vegas. After getting our rental car and driving to our hotel to check in, we crashed in our room at about 1:30 in the morning (4:30 back home). Steve desperately desired McDonald's, so we got that first and he ate while we were there. After some lovely sleep, I awoke to the evil, evil bride Andie (tee hee, love you!) calling me at 7:30 in the morning. I suppose she's allowed one early morning phone call without me killing her, especially since it was 10:30am "real time" and my body clock should have been acclimated to THAT, not Vegas time! Steve and I woke, showered, gussied up, drove downtown so we could get our Dunkin' Donuts at the Fremont Casino, and were on our way to Bally's where the bride and groom, Andie and Kevin, were staying. Some photos are on Facebook for those of you that can find me there. We got very girly and did hair and makeup and jewelry and I laced up her butt several times (this makes sense if you see the back of the dress, and sounds crude if you do not see the back of the dress.) The limo came to pick us up shortly after noon (I am now going on Vegas time only, so if you're curious what time it is back in Indiana just add three hours!) Kevin's friend Eric and his wife were there as well. The photographer took some photos (that sounds redundant...) and then we had the very pretty, albeit short, ceremony and CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. AND MRS. KEVIN KINGSBURY! :) Yayyyyy! I wish you all the happiness in the world with your 800 kids. We waited for them to pick their photo package, grabbed some champagne and toasted in the limo, had the limo dude take us to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign so we could get our pictures taken under it, then went for some Mexican/Cuban food back downtown. Also fabulous. And reminding me how very hungry I am right now. We took them back to the airport to return their rental car, then drove them back to their hotel, and went back to ours and crashed, once again. Zzzzz. I got to talk to my friend Christy, who is a rollergirl in Las Vegas (how cool is that!?) and we made plans to try and see one another the next day.

Friday: Much of this day is a blur. I took a nice, long, hot bath in the morning and read for awhile, we got our Dunkin' Donuts, bought some tickets to see the Lion King on Saturday for super-cheap, hung out with Christy for a couple of hours and had a couple of drinks, went to the Sahara where they have real blackjack for $1, then I played some roulette while my husband drooled over a Danica Patrick coffee mug that he ended up purchasing (can you hear me audibly grumbling? I do NOT think she's hot -- I wouldn't mind if he bought a Salma Hayek coffee mug, at least then I could understand...:P) We went back to our hotel at some point and ended up falling asleep for the rest of the night.

Saturday: I always hate the last day in Vegas, and this time it came much more quickly than usual. This is, by far, the shortest Vegas trip we've ever taken and I don't think we'll ever go for less than a week again. We went to Mandalay Bay so that we could turn in our ticket vouchers for actual seats and got a free upgrade to seats that were even better than what we'd expected, so that was great. Then we went off the strip and out towards Sam's Town, and the new East Cannery Casino, and I think the Longhorn Casino -- we were searching for cheap prime rib which is getting harder to find in Vegas than one would think. We found it for $7.99 and chowed down. We returned to the strip to check out the new resort and casino, named "ARIA" after our daughter. I guess the good people of Las Vegas found out how awesome she was and named the place after her. Anyhow, it was pretty cool -- we bought her a t-shirt from there and I got some gelato (pistachio flavor and nutella flavor!) Then we went over to Mandalay Bay again to see the Lion King. I cannot tell you what a joy this was. The costuming was magnificent, the singing/acting/dancing was incredible, and I loved every minute of it. It was the full show, which is rare in Vegas, most shows are a cut version of the full show -- an hour and a half with no intermission. This was two and a half, with an intermission, and I would see it again RIGHT NOW if I could. Hands down, the best show I've seen out there yet. Afterward, we went to gas up the rental car, drove to the airport and checked it back in, and sat waiting for our plane. It did not leave until 11:30pm, by which time we'd consumed some overly-priced airport food (20 oz Mt. Dew: $3.34, personal pan pizza $5.29. Would you like fries with that? No, thank you, I wouldn't want to have to take out another mortgage on my home.) We flew to Atlanta this time, waited two hours and flew to Midway. This takes us into Sunday and, if you're keeping track, we were up for 26 hours straight by the time we drove home from Middlebury and unloaded the car and dropped ourselves into bed.

Sunday (see above): After the hour and a half nap, we again awoke, got dressed and rustled up the kids, and drove to Niles for my grandfather's viewing. The bad side of a funeral is, of course, that you've lost someone you love. The good side is always reconnecting with people you haven't seen or have lost touch with for a long time. After the viewing, many of us congregated at my parents' house, and I cannot tell you how good it was to have my whole family together again. I have missed that so much that it has hurt my heart in a way I never thought possible. I hope and pray that it doesn't take another funeral to get us together again in such a way. We went home, I started some laundry, we attempted to watch an episode of "The United States of Tara" but fell asleep.

Monday: wake, shower, dress, coffee, funeral. We chose not to take the kids out of school -- they got to see the family and pay their respects last night, and at least the boys have perfect attendance right now. Zachary, especially, hates to miss school, and we thought it was better for them to stay there than to come with us. After the funeral was the graveside service. Since my grandfather was in WWII, some representatives from the American Legion presented our family with a flag, and played Taps (which was the hardest part for me). The First Presbyterian Church put on a nice dinner for us, we ate, took some food with us, visited with family awhile longer, and then drove home again to more laundry and clean up the house. And blog.

Here's hoping that our next trip will be both more eventful and less eventful at the same time. Thanks for listening - this is, perhaps, the longest blog of all. So far. It won't be this way every day, I promise!

SJS