Monday, June 25, 2007

Mmmmmm.....Bacon Flavored Goodness
Okay. Who's the marketing genius who came up with these? They are like the potato chip version of CRACK! I have to seriously ration them out, as they fulfill Baby Jordan's request for all things bacon-y and potato-y. I might have to make sure we're stocked with them at all times.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

St. Anne, Patron Saint of Mothers
Diane and I took one of our beloved road trips up to Sturbridge, MA to visit the shrine to St. Anne, who is the patron saint of mothers. It was suggested to me by a friend at work. So we figure what the hey, we're good for a ride. It was gorgeous. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get there but it was easy driving (any time I DON'T have to go over the George Washington Bridge is a good thing) and the weather was just beautiful. The shrine and church are on these amazing grounds. There's a whole trail devoted to the stations of the cross, with sculptures of each station. I learned a little - I didn't know each station teaches some lesson. It was really interesting. I don't know why, but the stations of the cross just fascinate me - every time I'm in a new church, I look at them and how they're done. Every Easter I say I'm going to go to a live one.

Here's Diane at the entrance to the stations of the cross trail.

These are sacred steps that lead up to a sculpture of the cruxifiction.

The steps were pretty steep and I did indeed climb them. Not that I was a pretty sight when I reached the top. The view was lovely though. There were birds everywhere outside and they didn't stop singing once. I got some prayer cards and a little St. Anne medal to wear while I'm pregnant. I figure we can use any help we can get!

After the shrine we found a cute little restaurant that had a deck outside. Dining al fresco! And so inexpensive - I had a catfish dinner for $9. In the foyer of the restaurant was a CIGARETTE MACHINE! I haven't seen one of these in ages! I thought it hysterically funny so I took a photo. Then off to a candy store that's been around since like the early part of the 1900's where I had to purchase chocolate peanut butter fudge and a smores type thing and red licorice for Tommy. THEN to the bakery at the Publick House where I bought a delicious cookie (chocolate filled with peanut butter) and a whoopie pie. What's a whoopie pie? Surely you jest! It's like a big, huge, homemade devil dog except the cake part isn't dry and crumbly. Then home we went. We're planning another trip - we need to find Purgatory Chasm and check out the Polish Pottery.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Two Cuties
So here's my sweet cowboy holding our bran-new nephew. I can't tell who's cuter. And now that I've seen him in person, I can attest to him looking adorable and smelling like that great baby smell. Ismaeel LOVES his uncle. Tommy picked him up and he snuggled right into him, sighed and promptly fell back asleep. We had a very exciting day. We walked along the Hudson, ate outside and walked back. Baby I. slept through it all. Apparently his life is very tough. He is still absolutely delicious though and makes the cutest sighing sounds as he settles in. And luckily, right before we had to go catch our train, I picked him up for one last snuggled and he just nestled in right into my neck.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Green Movie
If for no other reason, this is why I'll see "Evan Almighty." I really like the idea of a huge, previously thought of evil entity (the movie biz) trying to turn itself around by making a "green" movie. The folks who made "Evan Almighty" decided to take steps to ensure that the making of their movie would produce no carbon. I think that's pretty cool, and I'm hoping that more productions follow suit. They used bicycles instead of golf carts, did much to recycle, printed scripts on both sides of recycled paper and used recycled materials to create the sets.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me About Harry Chapin??
The drummer from Tess' pit passed along a cd to me of Harry Chapin. His music is AMAZING! And, he has a cello featured on most songs. I'd love to get my hands on some of those cello parts. They're not just pretty accompaniment - they're some serious licks and runs. And his lyrics are just so beautiful - these woven tales made up of these interesting and usually intricate characters. How I hadn't dug his stuff up sooner is totally beyond me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I survived. I survived a few weeks of craziness. Do you know how hard it is to have a crazy week at work and then go and play a 3 hour show at the end of a day in said week? It ain't easy. Luckily, Tommy kept me well fed, carried the cello up and down the stairs for me and welcomed me home with big hugs at the end of the day.

So Tess is over. It was an amazing cello book to play (the kind you look forward to playing 5 times in a row unlike say, 'The King and I' where you just want to take a gun to the king at the end rather than have to play 'I Whistle a Happy Tune' yet again.), it was a small group which made for conversing between the pit and the cast and there were just good vibes around all the time.

My nephew was born! He came in on June 14 at 3:05 p.m. I haven't gotten a chance to see him yet, but he looks just sweet and darling. I told his parents that he has about 6 months to relish being the cutest baby in the world and then he'll have to see how his cousin turns out and the title will be up for grabs.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Rant and Rave Concerning the Tony Awards
First of all, I always get pissed off at how the Tony Awards are just shoved aside. I understand, Broadway is a small corner of the world, but it's still a big deal to see who's being honored and what's happening in the world of live theatre. I'm appalled at how much attention is given to the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the MTV Video Awards and not a splash is made about the Tonys. I mean, these performers do eight freakin' shows a week and more of a big deal is made on what dress Nicole Kidman is wearing than the Tonys as a whole.

Case in point, in the entertainment section of the Sunday paper, the ENTIRE cover is devoted to the Sopranos finale. There's a huge photo of Tony Soprano and features up to wazoo. Then in a small box, it asks "Who will win the Tonys?" As if they're asking who's going to appear on Monday's edition of the Today show. How ridiculous. Why bother? And the thing this is a newspaper that is circulate IN NEW YORK CITY! I mean, if it's not a big deal here in the suburbs of NY, where will it be a big deal?

But there were some things that annoyed me about the awards show itself.

First, why were there performances from shows that were nominated last year? Do I give a crap that Fantasia is replacing someone in Color Purple? Does that warrant her performing at the Tony awards? And okay, so Jersey Boys won last year, but does that mean they should do a musical number AGAIN? What's the deal with that?

But all in all, I still like watching them. I like seeing all the faces that are familiar to the stage. I like getting a glimpse of musical numbers from shows I probably can't afford to go see. (I'm still trying to get to see 'Spelling Bee' and now I'm dying to see 'Spring Awakening') I like knowing where the future of musical theatre is heading.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Walk for Two, Eat for Two, Sleep for Two*

Okay, okay, okay. I figure I should make it all official-like. I'm pregnant. I'm 12 weeks today and still a little nervous that this little person is okay. Of course when I went to my last doctor visit because I wasn't 11 weeks yet they didn't even TRY to listen for the heartbeat. (Which luckily I saw on the sonogram at 5 weeks, so I'm not entirely freaked out.)

It's just that, with all that Tommy and I have been through, I happen to think we're a little deserving of some little goodness in our life. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly thankful that I was able to beat cancer and am still healthy. And I don't think we're asking for much, just a happy, healthy baby.

I think it's a girl, but that's just me. I'd be over the moon with either a girl or a boy.

My official due date is December 21. If I had to guess, I'd say this child will make a splashy entrance and come as close to Christmas as they can if not on Christmas. And it'll be huge snow. Just a guess.

And although there have been many.....creative suggestions, where we are right now is Tessa Josephine for a girl and Lucas Ryne for a boy.

*Taken from a 10,000 Maniacs song.

Close Proximity Audience Member Watch - Weekend 2

Thursday night - My dear sweet husband. It was so so nice to play with him a foot away from me. And he lavished praise on me the whole way home!

Friday night - An annoying older middle-aged woman. She was a mouth breather and a fidgeter. At intermission she also was talking with her little group of ducks who collectively were astronomically more annoying in group format. They talked about every other show they went to and every local they vacationed at. Vapid, mindless comments.

Saturday matinee - Empty seat.

Saturday evening - An older gentleman. Wore big blue velcro shoes. Kept waking (or trying to) his wife/companion up. On his way out of the theatre proclaimed, "I kept worrying she was going to stab me with her thing." Ummm....sure, after playing this instrument for more than half my life, I don't possess the skills necessary to make sure I don't "stab someone."

Sunday matinee - A group of women sat down near the aisle. Their friend was sitting elsewhere and then moved by them and sat in The Seat. The friends moved after the first musical number but the woman in The Seat stayed. I couldn't tell if she was pissed she was so close to us or what but she didn't move over at all. At the end when the cast acknowledges us, she actually said, "Oh yeah" as if she emphatically agreed. Who knew?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Ever have one of those days where you just want to tell everyone to go away? To shut up? To leave you the hell alone?

I am.

I'm ready to fashion an Oscar the Grouch style sign out of refuse cardboard emblazoned "Scram!" and hang it on my office door.

I'm thinking Wendy's chicken nuggets, a potato and caesar salad might remedy this.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Comfort Music
I came up with this idea the other day. There are certain foods that make us feel better if we’re having an off day. I reach for mac and cheese or mashed potatoes. Or chocolatey treats. It just gives you a little control after having a crazy day or sitting in traffic for an hour. Well, I think the same hold true for music for me. There’s music that just makes it easier for me to breathe deeper, to relax and let go a little. I have a cd of mixed tunes, comprised mostly of Steely Dan, mixed in with Joe Jackson and other assorted favorites. But Aja just does something to me. I hear it and I’m soothed. I’m calm. I can face anything. It’s my go-to music when I don’t know what I want to listen to. The huge jazz break in the middle is just like Valium for my soul. It slows my pulse. It makes my brain function clearer. I can remember figments of a dream I had when I was younger - maybe in junior high or so. It was one of those odd, stream-of-consciousness dreams that I just remember vividly:
I was trying to get somewhere or accomplish something that led me through these tunnels, but they were architectual, it reminded me of the long hallway in the mall that led to the arcade - brick-like flooring that was really vinyl, orange walls. But it wasn’t a linear hallway, it just meandered. And every so often these vampire figures would try to accost me. But I wasn’t scared really, so they got bored with me and told me to watch this little program on a nearby tv. And it was like some alphabet animation that you’d find on “old school” Sesame Street - kind of trippy. And the music that accompanied it was a cross between the jazz section of ‘Aja’ and the jazz section of ‘Zanzibar.’ So maybe I recognize something in it subconsciously. I don’t know. After watching the tv for a while I found that there was a secret trap door I could use to escape. It looked like one of those interchangable signs you see outside a church or a fire department - the white kind with the black letters you can change. Except this sign had little bulbs around the perimeter of it that looked like Good ‘N Plentys. So I pushed one and the sign popped open, leading to a slide. I slid down the slide and found myself in the waiting area of The Ground Round where my mother was waiting. I was safe. An odd dream, but every time I hear ‘Aja’ I’m reminded of it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Close Proximity Audience Member Watch
So being that the theater holds maybe about 100 or so bodies, and there’s no actual pit for us, we take up a bit of room and ergo, I am sitting almost in the audience. Which is slightly odd for me. I’m seriously about a foot away from the person sitting on the very end of the first row. (It’s general seating, so it’s usually the last seat taken.) Which makes me nervous about the person sitting there. I certainly don’t want to be blasting in their ear so they can’t hear the vocalist, but I still want to be able to play comfortably. Plus, I don’t want to poke them with an errant up-bow. So I’ll be documenting the poor (or fortunate, dependant upon how much of a cello fan they are) soul who sits in that seat.

Opening Night - An older gentleman who I thought would be cranky, but turned out to really enjoy being close to the musicians. He asked me questions about the music and said he really enjoyed listening to it. (Amusing aside - my parents came to the show to find out it was SOLD OUT! With such a small theatre, we’ve sold out every show except Thursday nights and Saturday matinees. So I had to actually send them home and have Tommy pick me up after the show was over.)
Saturday Night - An older lady by herself. She came in about halfway through the second musical number with a REALLY loud, jangly key chain. I thought she’d be unhappy sitting there, but as she was leaving, she told me how she really enjoyed the music, and how wonderfully I played. As I was leaving that night I had a group of people tell me how much they enjoyed watching me play. I even had the sound person tell me how pretty it sounded. Now, that’s a first - I never usually hear anything from the crew members.
Sunday Afternoon - Empty seat. *Phew*

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Serious musical history there. It changed the way people thought about music, it changed the music world as a whole. From then on all sorts of artists were challenged to think differently and not censor themselves. And it's such a complete album - each song fits perfectly on there. I happen to think it's the best rock album of all time. In celebration of this event, Fordham University's radio station is playing the album and covers of it all day long. Plus, at 2:00 p.m. they're playing a special program that really goes into how the album was made and it's effect on the music world. If you don't live in the NYC metro area, don't fret - you can listen at