Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Was that Mom: Just for One Day

When I first had my daughter, I envisioned that I would be "that mom." You know, the one who is totally cool with kids coming in and out of the house. I'd be the center around which my kids' and their friends' lives would swirl.

I'd always have the right games or food and would always welcome an extra guest at dinner or for whenever. My kids' friends would confide in me when they couldn't talk to anyone else.

Then reality set in.

I forgot, in my copious daydreams, to factor in that I'm incredibly intolerant. I work on it, I know and for the most part I keep my mouth shut. But, once at my son's birthday party, a friend of his got up from eating pizza walked over to my couch (dripping crumbs) and started jumping on it.

Who does that?

I will say that I didn't yell--probably because I was in shock--but I did say, "Dude, that's my couch." And that's not the first time something like that has happened. I tend to be stricter with my kids and therefore with my kids' friends. If my kids don't do it, then you can't either.

Anyway, on Friday, my daughter, Clara had two friends over. They want to create a web show and since Clara has the camera they have to film it here. No big deal as they are 11 and quite capable of taking care of themselves. Brian was on his way home from a business trip but wouldn't get in until late so I offered to make everyone French toast for dinner (with homemade bread, of course, that I can do).

Well, they totally wanted to stay and then I offered a few suggestions for their web show--this being right up my alley of course. I let them use my permanent markers (which I save for work) and got them sheets of paper to make a big sign. I even went on the show as a guest.

One of Clara's friends said to me, "You're a cool mom."

And believe me, I've not heard that before.

So for one day, just one day, I reached "cool" status.

Very nice.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Restaurant Shopping

I start rehearsals next week for Romeo and Juliet so Brian and I are going to go out on Saturday--a last chance to see each other before summer as right after R and J, I'll be in rehearsals for Sunday in the Park with George. Oh, we'll live in the same house but keep vastly different hours.

I'm looking forward to a reunion in July. Watch out!

So, I've been perusing restaurants in Philly because we want to do dinner and a movie. Make that a movie and dinner. I find it works better that way because once I sit down to dinner and get a glass of wine in me, there's no way I want to shut up for a 2 hour movie.

Hey, I'm just being honest. I talk a lot as it is but put some alcohol in me and bam! Emeril couldn't even turn it up that much. I can't help it, it's genetic. Once, I was going to visit my family and Brian said, "Well, you better talk to me now because you won't get a word in edgewise all weekend."

So true.

This is why Brian and I are such a good match; he's not a talker. In fact, the first time I met his family, I freaked out because at one point during dinner, NO ONE SAID A WORD! Well, this had never happened in my family before so I figured they all hated me. I mean, why else would everyone stop talking?

Sometimes he does want to talk and I try to so hard to listen because obviously it's important but half-way through, inevitably I start thinking, "Ohhhh, when is it my turn?"

Okay, so I'm looking for a restaurant and perusing reviews and such on the web and I realize I'm totally basing what I want to eat tomorrow night on what I want to eat right now at this moment. (Man, was that a run-on or what?) Has that ever happened to you? You're planning dinner but it's morning so you start thinking: French toast would be fun for dinner. And then dinner comes and the last thing you want is something sweet. Or, you really feel like hamburgers at 3 pm but at 6 pm you're thinking, salad and a beer (this is of course after you've snacked on cheese, crackers, sausage, etc.).

Well, I've picked a couple of restaurants based on availability and walking distance to the movie theater. Let's hope I've chosen wisely and don't end up like that dude in the Last Crusade.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Theme Thursday: Felt and Impression

Impression Felt: A Haiku

Eyes meet in the room

Hellos, small talk, butterflies

An impression felt

Put a Fork in Me

Have you ever been done, just totally done at the end of the day?

That's how I feel tonight. I had planned on working on my prompt book and putting in tabs for each scene (makes it easier to get to the right place when the director says, "Let's look at scene 3, what page is that on?" and expects me to find it instantly) but I just can't think anymore.

I brought it on myself a bit. Brian and I had cocktail night last night instead of Thursday since he left for Florida today. It's our last cocktail night for a while so.... He called me today from some man-made island in Miami telling me how gorgeous the view from his balcony was; clear, blue water, soft breeze, warm air. Meanwhile, I was freezing my butt off. I tried to be nice, I really did.

I did manage to get a run in today (while baking rolls, yum!) but it was windy and cold which always tires me out.

Then, it's Wednesday and I hate Wednesdays. My daughter has 2 dance classes but comes home in-between them to eat dinner which means a lot driving back and forth. Plus, it's the night my son has to do his one chore of taking out the garbage. It's ALWAYS a hassle to get him to do it. He began whining and then my daughter joined in. Finally, I had enough and said, "Why? Why do you have to whine all the time?"

And my daughter answers, "Well, probably because a lot of kids whine at school and people tend to give them what they want so it probably rubs off on us."

I know, right? I wasn't expecting an answer either.

Luckily, though, I can tell my kids when I'm just overtired and done and they get it. Well, mostly they get it. My son likes to stall with, "Can I read to you for a minute?" And then spends 10 minutes trying to find the right book. But how do you say no when your kid wants to read to you.

So brain-dead and cooked through, I have never been so happy to see my bed!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Simple Life

Prep week starts this week for Romeo and Juliet so I'll be posting less than usual, which is hard to believe seeing as how I've barely posted lately. It's really just that I've been extremely busy doing...nothing.

Yeah, that's right, I'm the queen of inactivity, the first one to say, "Let's just grab a beer and sit." It's rubbed off on my children as well (I wonder if they've discovered a gene for inactivity?). I may have written about this before but one my favorite sayings by my daughter is, "Mom, you should give me an allowance for doing nothing because it's the hardest thing to do. You can't stop to rest."

Amen, sister.

I have been trying to stay busy and start doing things. For years, I wanted to be one of those mothers who always complained about having too much to do because it sounded like these moms led such exciting lives. Finally, I gave up and turned on the TV to watch Mildred Pierce about a mom who worked herself to the bone for her daughter only to have her daughter turn on her. Instant justification for my lifestyle.

Anyway, I have been filling my time with activities but nothing exciting enough to post about. Case in point, I've taken up knitting. You're excused for yawning. I'm hoping it proves to be a viable activity for me during rehearsals and the show. I can't exactly read during my down time and sometimes, as bad as it is, I'll go smoke a cigarette. It's a boredom factor and it gets me out of the building.

You might say, "How can you smoke and be a runner?" Well, let me tell you it's not that difficult. I don't run very fast and I don't smoke all that much. I'm just hoping knitting replaces the ciggies.

Oh, and I have been running again. I took about a month off around the holidays because of the terrific snowstorm, the high winds, and the general hubbub around the holidays. Unfortunately, I didn't stop eating as much as I did when I was running 6-8 miles at a time. And, guess what? I gained weight! It's never happened to me before. I've always been one of those lucky people with the high metabolism. Make that, I WAS one of those lucky people....Damn the 40's. Everyone said it would happen to me when I turned 40 and I just didn't believe them.

That's about it (besides baking bread which I know I've written about) so you can see why I have nothing to post about. Here's hoping R & J has some interesting moments. In the meantime, how about a beer?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Theme Thursday: Bread

I make a lot of bread.

And, I'm not talking money....c'mon I'm in theater!

Seriously though, I do make a lot of bread. Between shows last season (November to late April), I made so much bread that we had homemade bread every night for dinner PLUS I put about 20 loaves in the freezer for the summer.

Growing up my mom made bread all the time. When I think of her during my childhood, I picture her kneading dough on the square marble slab she used for that purpose. We had homemade bread every night for dinner back then and I guess I'm just carrying on the tradition. My grandmother, my mom's mom, was French so perhaps that's where she got it from. To me, it's just not dinner without bread. Good bread. Good homemade bread.

I'm not a hand-kneader, I use my handy Kitchenaid for that:


And yes, it does match the kitchen:

So what kind of bread do I make? Well, a few different types:
  • A Tuscan one-rise bread which was the first bread I ever made. It's easy and quick (kneads in the food processor!). My mom gave me the recipe and I make it often, especially if I don't have a lot of time. Sometimes I add soy flour or whole wheat flour.
  • Rustic Potato Bread from Baking with Julia. This is pretty quick as well and it makes 2 loaves so one for dinner and one for the freezer. I've made this for neighbors and they all rave about it.
  • Cloverleaf Rolls from The Joy of Cooking. My mom made these growing up and they bring back such memories.
  • Various others: I've experimented with sandwhich bread recipes trying to find the best one. I just discovered a sponge bread recipe in Baking with Julia that shows promise. I've only made it once so I have to do it a few times in order to make sure I've mastered it.
Here's a quick tip: If you want crusty bread, throw some ice cubes into the hot oven and shut the door for a minute before adding the dough to be baked. The steam from the cubes will make the dough form a nice, crispy, crust.
I just love bread. I love the way the house smells when it's baking, I love the warmth of just-finished bread, I love eating. Best of all, I love it when my kids say, "Oh yum, mommy bread. it's the best."
Happy Theme Thursday!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How Are You Feeling? Rate Yourself!

Back in college, a bunch of us took a road trip to Montreal. I went to school at the University of Vermont in Burlington, which is only about 90 minutes from Montreal so we could do the trip in one day. I drove, and on the way home, late at night, my friend Joe P. had the unenviable job of keeping me awake. So, periodically, he'd say, "Rate yourself! How are you feeling?"

For some reason, it's one of those ride homes I'll never forget (and I understand it's also a location thing, you know, had to be there).

I was thinking about that today as I tried to rate myself but I'm not sure I could settle on a single emotion. Ever have one of those days?

This morning, my alarm did not work so I didn't get up until 8:28 which is significant because we leave for the bus at 8:38. Somehow, my children got up, ate breakfast, brushed their teeth (even!), got dressed and made it to the bus stop in time for the bus. I just thank the good Lord (or whomever) that about 20 kids get on the bus at our bus stop and that the bus is always late. So this morning I felt relieved. Oh, and tired.

I'm also feeling impressed with the response to the earthquake in Haiti. So many people donated so much money in such a short time. But I confess, I'm a bit conflicted as I hear reports of Haitians complaining that we didn't act fast enough. I can't imagine being in Haiti right now but it feels to me that we acted as quickly as we could. Of course, I'm not there and since they didn't have much to begin's just so sad.

And, I'm sad because I heard news last week about an actor I worked with last season. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia and is now in a medically-induced coma. I didn't know him really well--we had some beers, I hung out once with him and his wife--but I enjoyed working with him and looked forward to maybe working with him again. It's just heart-wrenching.

On the lighter side, I had my second vocal lesson yesterday, and my teacher said I know more than I think I do. He even told me to buy some music so I can learn a song. That idea, of learning to sing a song, seemed so far away a couple of weeks ago. Life goes on, but in the midst of tragedy how am I supposed to feel?

This is light but weird. This afternoon, the kids and I walked into Keswick Village (the little town square in Glenside). I thought I'd buy them a treat for getting out of the house so quickly this morning. After our pretzels (and if you've tasted Philly pretzels, you'll know they are a treat), we stopped in at the used clothing store. My son tried on a pair of pants and got locked in the bathroom. The poor woman who ran the store tried everything to open the door. It took a good 20 minutes to pry the door open. I felt so bad for the poor woman, and my son (who held it together quite nicely but cried when he got out), and my daughter (who was visibly upset). I knew we'd get him out but if you're a kid locked in the bathroom, I guess it's pretty scary. Luckily, we had gummy bears when we got home. Gummy Bears solve a lot.

Except when Gummy Bears are soaked in vodka. When we had our big snow storm, a neighbor came by with vodka-soaked Gummy Bears and they were the most disgusting thing I have ever tasted.

I digress but right now, thinking about those gummy bears, I feel yucky. But not so yucky because I found Inherit the Wind on TV and I've never seen it (good to be me!).

So, Joe, I'm not sure I could rate myself right now. Ever have one of those days?

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Golden Globes and Arts Education: A Bit of a Rant

I know The Golden Globes and Arts Education seem not to have a lot in common but see if you can follow me (I wish you luck).

I watched The Golden Globes the other night but only half-enthusiastically. The movies this year haven't really excited me or I guess I haven't seen enough of them to care. I'm not sure what it is. I've seen some good movies but I guess I just don't care who wins.

Don't get me wrong, I'll watch The Oscars (well, after my show, I have a performance that night of Romeo and Juliet) and love it but I'm not so invested in who wins.

I did love Ricky Gervais though (he hosted The Globes), especially his irreverence; he made fun of everyone and everything Hollywood. He put it well when he said, "It's not like I'm going to be doing this again." As true as it might be, I enjoyed that he was pulling the Hollywood elite down a peg. Sometimes, I think they live in such a fake world, they truly feel the work they are doing is life-altering. I believe it was during Adrian Brody's Oscar acceptance speech for The Pianist, that he stopped the "get off the stage music" with "This is important."

Really? A gold statue for PLAYING a Holocaust survivor is important? I'm thinking the actual Holocaust might be oh, just slightly more important. As much as I love the movies and Hollywood, I do think they are full of it sometimes.

But at the end of The Golden Globes, Jim Cameron won for Avatar and he said, "Give yourselves as a hand. We have the greatest job in the world." It was nice to hear someone recognize that. I mean, I work in theater, I hardly make any money, but it's truly the best job in the world.

So that's a long way around to thinking about how exactly I can help the world. I just saw a French movie called The Class about a teacher in an economically disadvantaged arrondissement of Paris. It chronicles a school year as he deals with a class of teenagers who don't want to learn, or have trouble learning. Many of them are immigrants and dealing with home problems and the government, etc. Plus, over the weekend, I had dinner with my sister who works in such a school in Bridgeport, CT. So these people are doing good work, helping students in less than glamorous education. Now, that's important, Mr. Brody.

So, how is what I do important? Or is it important? Here's my answer (rationale?):

Teaching students math, English (French in the case of the film), reading, et cetera gives them the tools they will need to help them get out of their current situation. What arts education and theater in particular, can help them with is the desire and courage to try to change their situation. Growing up in an impoverished setting and seeing the same people stuck in the same jobs with no money does not give anyone incentive to break out and try to change their circumstances. Theater can teach young people that they are not alone; the emotions they have are universal and, that they can choose a different path.

I'll take Romeo and Juliet as an example since I'm reading that show right now in prep for rehearsals. The society that Romeo and Juliet live in chooses violence as a way to deal with their emotions. The "feud" between the Capulets and Montagues is described only as an "ancient feud." It has been going on so long, no one knows what it's about; they just know they don't like each other. Out of this society come two people who defy everything they have learned and love each other, and would rather die than live in the conventions of this "hateful" society. It's a powerful lesson; love is stronger than hate. But will such a tale really help troubled students?

I think it's possible. I think it's possible to expand people's minds with stories; to allow them to experience different situations or similar situations where different choices are made. I may be wrong, I don't know, but I do know that I feel more empowered when I know that someone out their feels the same way I do.

If you've made it all the way down here, thanks for listening and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Reconnections, New Connections

I've had an interesting week of connecting with people. I guess it's interesting to me because most days, I'm alone. Sometimes, this results in a feeling of loneliness but many times, it's nice to be the sole director of my time. Besides, I listen incessantly to NPR so it's like I have friends. Friends that won't let me get a word in edgewise, but friends nonetheless.

Last weekend, Brian and I went to Chicago to celebrate his 40th Bday (which actually occurred on New Year's Eve). A couple of friends met us there and we had a great weekend of blues, brews and theater. For those who participated in Theme Thursday last week, Buddy Guy did NOT play his polka dot guitar but that was the most disappointing thing that happened all weekend. I saw 2 plays--one at Steppenwolf and one at LookingGlass--and ate good, fresh food, and drank good, fresh beer, and saw good, fresh blues.

And, I also got to meet Brian's girlfriend from High School who moved out to Chicago years ago. She and her husband came to dinner with us on Saturday night (at AntePrima, highly recommended if you go to the Windy City). It was a neat reconnection for Brian and a new connection for me.

When I got back, I had drinks with some friends from People's Light and Theater Company where I worked when I first moved down here. It's out in the suburbs so it's difficult to connect with them sometimes. Every so often, the stars align and we meet for drinks and catch up. It's so much fun chatting with them because they know everyone in the theater world so we gossip a bit and catch up with each other as well. We had a interesting discussion about talk-backs or post-show discussions. At Steppenwolf in Chicago, they have a talk-back after every performance but without the actors. Someone from the theater moderates a discussion about the play itself. I was impressed with how the audience articulated so clearly their feelings about the play (American Buffalo). Theaters in Philly have post-show discussion with the actors which often leads to questions like, "Was learning the accent difficult?" Not statements like, "It shocked me when Teach brought out the gun in the last scene, I felt that the stakes really rose at that point."

Closer to home, I had coffee today with some ladies from the library I worked at for all of about 8 months. I had taken a part-time job because I didn't know I'd be stage managing that much, I had only one gig lined up at that point. Luckily, for me, the Arden and I seem to be getting along just fine so I quit the library. Not before, however, I met some cool ladies who like to write and drink coffee (among other things). They do coffee every 6 months or so and every time I go, I meet someone new and interesting.

And, the final person I met today was the director for Romeo and Juliet which goes into rehearsals in 2 weeks. I like meeting the director before the first rehearsal in order to understand how he/she likes to run things. He wanted to reach out to me (and everyone in the cast) so that we all understand that he likes and open and supportive rehearsal process. Suits me just fine.

Okay, I have to add how much fun I had listening to this director--Matt Pfeiffer-- describe his vision for Romeo and Juliet. His face lit up as he talked about Shakespeare's Verona, a place that didn't ever exist except in Shakespeare's head for he certainly had never gone to Italy. He has stripped the play down to tell the story of the star-crossed lovers who teach us that love is the most important of all emotions; that it really does conquer all.

Tonight, we might have some friends over to play cards. Just one more in a long string of connections this week. After tonight though, I might be craving some alone time.

Well, some alone time along with my friends from NPR. I just wish they would let me talk.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Theme Thursday: The Surface of Things

On the surface we are all smiles and hugs as we greet old friends and introduce ourselves to (hopefully) new ones. Inside, we hide the angst as the first day of rehearsal brings so many questions: *Am I prepared? Will I get along with these people? What if the director is a dork? What if they find out that I'm a fraud?*

The surface of the rehearsal hall has been swept and neon-colored spike tape marks off rooms, stairs, doors, and windows of a set that up to now has only been rendered in 2 dimensions. Actors will negotiate flat stairs and non-existent doors (*Dude, that's actually a wall you just walked through*) as the real ones are built downstairs on the surface of the stage. *Really, they want a wall there?*

The play itself has only been discussed, it has not yet had life off the surface of the page. As rehearsal hours tick away, actors animate the playwright's words trying to fit their interpretation with the director's vision. *You know, I never thought of Joe as a Buddhist nymphomaniac, interesting choice.*

Costumes, at first only patterns and drawings on the surface of paper soon add extra texture to the characters struggling to be defined. Meanwhile, in the theater, from a flat, non-descript surface springs the world of the play, built carefully by the technical director and crew. Soon the actors, directors, and designers invade and add more nuance and feeling to the story that only a few weeks ago was just a vision and some words. *Oh, so that actually is a wall there. You know in this costume, Joe feels more like a gay Irishman.*

Soon, the final element arrives, the audience. Their response spurs the actors to find new meaning in the words and encourages them to crystallize the emotional arc of the play. *Wow, that audience was great - no one texted, no cell phones went off, no one fell asleep, no one left!*

And all too soon it is over. Sets are torn down, costumed stores, and actors and directors (and stage managers) move on to other plays. But the memory of the story we told lives on, just below the surface.

*Note: None of the comments in asterisks has ever, EVER been heard by this Stage Manager.*

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Theme Thursday: Polka Dots

When all else fails, turn to trivia!
(and yes, I know I'm a day early but I need to get ready for a weekend in Chicago with Brian and sans les enfants!)
Positively Poignant Points about Polka Dots

Polka Dots on clothing first became popular in England in the mid 19th Century

The Polka Dance because popular in the US after it's introduction in 1835. At the height of the Polka craze (1840 to 1890), manufacturers named a wide range of products after the dance -- hats, gauze, ties, and fabrics. Only the polka dot pattern has endured.

Blues guitarist, Buddy Guy plays a Fender Stratocaster that is black with white polka dots. I'll be going to Buddy Guy's bar in Chicago on Sunday night, by the way.

In the Tour de France, the leader in the mountain competition wears not the maillot jaune (or yellow jersey) but a maillot a pois rouge or polka dot jersey.

Frank Sinatra sang of Polka Dots before the Yellow Bikini hit the airways. The song Polka Dots and Moonbeams was written in 1940, and was Mr. Sinatra's first hit with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

The term "Polka Dot" was first used in the New York Times on 21 September 1866.

The Hypoestes, also known as the Polka Dot plant is a popular outdoor annual.

Polka Dot Door was a long running children's television show (1971 to 1993) produced by TVOntario.

And now, to leave you with a song. Oh no, don't worry, it's not that one. Here's John Denver:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What I Did Over My Christmas Vacation

Still trying to get into the blogging vibe again after a bit of a break. So I thought I'd recall what I did with my time instead of blogging. Here goes:
1. Probably don't need to say this but I did eat and drink A LOT. I visited our favorite wine store the week before Christmas to stock up. It's a wine store called Moore Brothers located in New Jersey (where they don't have such inane liquor laws). They specialize in Artisan Wine - every bottle in the store is from a winery that produces less than 6,000 bottles a year. Each bottle is treated as an agricultural product which means it is shipped from the vineyard at 56 degrees and the store is kept at 56 degrees which makes for very fresh wine. They work with vineyards all over the world and have bottles ranging from $12 on up. The sales clerk tried to interest me in a $50 Chianti, to which I said, "If I buy the $50 Chianti and like it, then I'll go broke. Let's stick to cheaper bottles." Surprisingly, we haven't gone through our stash yet.

2. Although I had all that food and wine, I did not run. We got over a foot of snow the Saturday before Christmas and then it turned cold and windy. I can't stand running in the wind. None of the snow is left however because on the day after Christmas, the temperature rose into the 40s and it rained all day, melting the snow and leading me to...

3. Discovering a new use for baking soda! The rain overwhelmed our sump pump and we had water seeping into the basement all day on the Sunday after Christmas. We wet-vacced and put fans on but by Monday night a certain odor had crept in. This was worrisome as we were having our annual New Year's Eve party in a few days. Found out that if you sprinkle baking soda on the wet rug and let it dry, it won't smell! It actually helps it dry faster as well. Luckily, I use baking soda for drains and to clean with because I got a lot of it left. For more baking soda uses (I'm a big fan) check out this page.

4. So, we were able to host our New Year's Eve party and a good time was had by all. Mostly, it was neighbors with a few out-of-town guests and some kids' sleeping over; cozy quarters with 12 in the house that night but we managed.

5. On New Year's Day, we went to lunch with our out-of-town guests before they took off. We went to a German beer pub in Philly, where I found a new beer to enjoy! Usually, I'm an IPA gal (that's India Pale Ale, and I could write an entire blog post on that beer, in fact maybe I will), but German Pilsner and Kolsch is quite tasty. Brian is all excited because he loves beer, all sorts, just check out our beer fridge! Yes, it's stocked with homemade beer.

6. Played Darts! Check out the new dart board.

7. Sprinkled throughout the holidays, I watched quite a few movies; some I enjoyed, some not so much:

Public Enemies: The Johnny Depp as Dillinger movie. I so wanted this to be good but I went to bed half-way through, on cocktail night no less; that'll tell you how boring it was.
Up In The Air: I don't get the hype over this movie (George Clooney, mid-life crisis, airplanes). It was fine but a bit boring for me and slightly formulaic. I found myself checking my watch and predicting what was going to happen based on how much time was left. And, I was right. If anyone has seen this and disagrees, I'd love to hear your comments.
District 9: This was also supposed to be really good--another one with a lot of hype--but I fell asleep during it. It started well and looked interesting but then I got bored, I guess. This is the movie about aliens who land near Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox: Wes Anderson's take on Roald Dahl's book. It's ain't no Pixar! The kids and I really enjoyed it. Highly recommend it.

Coraline: This animated film can be a bit scary for kids but it's really well done. Jeffscape said he thought it might be better if it wasn't animated but I loved the animation. I think we both agree that it's a good film (and the character of the cat is fabulous). I highly recommend it but know your kids before letting them see it.

Sherlock Holmes: I really liked this film. Saw it in the theaters on an impromptu date night (both kids were invited for a sleepover). I knew going in that Holmes would be very physical so I was prepared for that. Jude Law didn't even bother me (and I'm not a fan) but I'm a big Robert Downey Jr. fan and I thought he did a great job.

Star Wars: Brian and I introduced the kids to the 1st one, meaning the 4th one; really don't need to say anymore do I?

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: The Year of When!

Happy new year to everyone!

I love to label years, it seems to encourage a good year. For example, in 1994, I had just broken up with a boyfriend of 3 years and changed jobs. On New Year's Eve, I was with a group of friends and decided the next year would be about me: Kate, 95! I turned it into a motto: Keep All The Excitement. In 1995, I met my future husband and got my dream job at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

In 2008, well that was obvious: Kate 2008! Hey, it rhymed. That was the year I started at the Arden Theatre, Stage Managed Candide (one of the hardest and most rewarding shows I have worked on), and went on a fabulous 40th birthday vacation in San Francisco and Napa Valley. Oh, and I started to blog is 2008.

I know that giving a year a label doesn't actually make it a good year but it can't hurt. It's a good way to remember my goals for the year (I hate to call them resolutions). I've named this year: The Year of When, which rhymes but isn't exactly self-explanatory. The Year of When is when I'm going to get around to doing things that I keep saying I'm going to do. Did that sentence just make sense? Anyway, I've been saying for years that I want to learn how to sing and tonight I had my first singing lesson! I can't match pitch and always thought I was tone-deaf but I found out tonight that I'm not tone-deaf and there is a possibility that I can learn to match pitch. It's all very exciting.

For Christmas, instead of getting Rock Band for Wii, the kids got actual rock instruments: Clara got a drum set and Jorge got a 3/4 size electric guitar. We're all taking lessons together: Look out Partridge family!

I'm a bit nervous but determined to carry-on so that when I'm 80, I won't lament that I never learned to sing. I've been inspired in this by Julia Child -- I happen to be watching Julie and Julia as I write this. Not as good, I might add as My Life in France because I'd much rather just watch the Julia Child portion, but I digress -- she didn't learn how to cook until she was 37! So you see, it's never too late.

I have a few other things I'd like to accomplish this year, nothing serious: run more than 13 miles (I still have my sights on a marathon but I'm going to take it slow), learn how to knit (it'll give me something to do backstage), and read more. But if I can just learn how to sing, if I can just go out one night and sing at karaoke without making a fool of myself, I will be ecstatic! Then, I will feel like I can do anything!

Wish me luck!