My Future as a Professional Whistler is Nearly Assured

This story begins with an office party. There’s one every year, of course. It’s usually in January, the better to make sure everyone can be there. For the first several years I worked at the office, we had the party at a local restaurant. Five years ago, we had it at the Deadwood Social Club, which has a beautiful black box theater, complete with a stage. After eating our delicious meal, a few of us sat staring at the stage, pondering how awesome it would be if there was something to watch happening on the stage.

The the idea of the Office Talent Show was born. The next year we had the party at the home of some of the bosses, and the Talent Show was mandatory. There was a lot of grumbling, but everyone wound up participating. There was a kazoo band incorporating may of the humbugs, to magnificent effect. Other acts included a classically trained pianist playing ACDC’s TNT (classically), which was hilarious, several of our staff members who are in local bands playing original songs (impressively), some of our singers singing, one of the owners riding a unicycle, one of the owners doing a Monte Python sketch, and me demonstrating my infallible knowledge of Disney music (ending with a rousing audience-participation chorus of Mulan’s “Be A Man”).

The second year met with less variety in talent and much more grumbling. (“How can you force us to do this? It’s cruel and unusual punishment!”) But the show went on. There were ukuleles and card tricks and singing and Eddie Izzard and I demonstrated my proficiency in sign language, accompanied by a friend singing an opera aria she and I composed an hour before the party. It was a little lame, I confess.

The third year – last year – full-out rebellion set in. Our employees refused to come to the party if we forced them to participate in a talent show. So there was no talent show. The party was okay – there was food and drink and some chatting – and then everyone left. It felt very unfulfilling.

And so this year we re-instituted the talent show, under a “not quite mandatory” policy. And I like showing off, so I was happy enough to volunteer…

Especially when I realized I have an actual talent.

You see, there is a particular employee in our office who is well-known for whistling badly. Christmas songs, mostly. And one day I was walking by while someone was talking about his bad whistling, and I thought to myself – “heh, heh. Poor guy. I bet he wishes he was as awesome a whistler as I am.” And then it struck me – I really am an awesome whistler.

It is a talent I inherited from my Grandpa George.

I can whistle on-pitch, on-tempo, and I can trill, which isn’t too shabby at all. So, curious, I hopped over to YouTube and searched for “good songs to whistle.” Up came a slew of videos relating to the World Whistling Championships, which I didn’t even know existed. And let me tell you – there are some really amazing whistlers out there.

Finally, I saw an interview with the 2009 Whistling Grand Champion, and she mentioned that maybe next year she would tackle Bohemian Rhapsody.

Well obviously, if the World Whistling Grand Champion thought it was a good idea, so should I. And it fit the talent show bill perfectly – something talent-ish, but more importantly, entertaining. Everyone knows Bohemian Rhapsody, and it’s kind of a silly song. Perfect.

So I started practicing.

You know what? Bohemian Rhapsody is not a piece of cake. Normally, I can pick music up very quickly by ear. After listening to Bohemian Rhapsody for two solid days on endless repeat, I was still losing track of which key I was supposed to be in during the middle section, so I downloaded the sheet music. Turns out the song changes keys three times, and time signatures another three times. I complained to my friend Carlynn, a Doctor of Cello and Graduate of Freddy Mercury Week(tm), who said to my pain: “that guy [Freddie Mercury] was not messing around.” She also pointed out that the dude hates shirts.

True enough.

So I kept practicing, using my out-of-tune piano as a crutch. I’m glad I had a full two weeks to get it under control. I probably could have used one more.

Finally the moment arrived: the Not-Quite-Mandatory Talent Show that All But Three Employees had volunteered for. Suddenly, it turned into Only Three Employees who were interested in performing. Whatever. I had a talent and I was ready to go.

After a rousing accordian chorus of Louie Louie (Louis Louis? Lewie Lewie?), I was called to the stage, in front of my massive dining room table. I called for a B to begin my a capella intro to the song and launched into it.

(Disclaimer, in case you elect to watch the video: my accompaniment was provided by a laptop, making it rather hard to hear. Also, I especially love the bit in the video when Dan checks to see if I’m really whistling. 🙂 )

My talent was received with exactly the enthusiasm I had hoped: delighted giggles from the first folks who realized what I was up to, applauding, and maybe even a little whistling along.

What I did not expect was the rousing endorsement I got afterward. Apparently, I really amazed my coworkers with what may be a legitimate talent. I promised that if I made it into the World Whistling Championships, I would invite them all along.

And you know what? The World Whistling Championships are hilarious. I looked them up after everyone went home, and here are some of the guidelines I found:

“You may not accompany yourself … [because the] judges need to watch your facial expressions and particularly the use of your lips.”

“But for serious whistlers whose goal is to become an international grand champion, they must enter both the classical and popular categories.” (Which leads me to believe there may be room in this competition for kicks-only whistlers. Also, it leads me to believe you can’t accidentally win.)

Regarding your selection for a Classical Entry: “Composers to be considered are usually those of Europe and the United States. … If Asian, African or South American compositions, a professional music authority must vouch for authenticity of your choice.”

Regarding your selection for a Popular Music Entry: “…the choices are wide and varied from folk, blues, jazz, county, rock and roll, western, reggae, and many mixtures of music for the ‘masses.’ Your selection could be from ancient ballads to the most current pop song. When in doubt about your choices, you may wish to use the New Harvard Dictionary of Music edited by Dan Randel, or discuss your selections with musicians who have graduate degrees in music.”

That last one is really long, but it was so funny, I had to post it all.

All said and done, I have come to this conclusion: if the World Whistling Championships ever come to South Dakota, I am SO there. Or a state fair. I would almost certainly enter a whistling competition at a state fair.

Stay tuned, and if Dustin uploads it and it’s not too embarrassing (I did run directly into the dining room table when rocking out to the last section of the song), I’ll post a link to my awesome performance.


Hell Week (or, “why it’s worth it”)

Last of the Red Hot Lovers

In high school, I was a member of a huge, incredible theater department. Our drama teacher/director was trained for the theater. It was her life and her passion. We didn’t do anything halfway. Shows were cast with the best talent available, and the multitudes of us who were slightly less talented with line delivery were there to fill in the technical aspects of producing a show. We built two-story sets, sewed costumes from patterns we designed ourselves, walked the cats and hung the lights… it was amazing.

As the week of production descended upon us, we donned our play-themed t-shirts and paraded around the school, proud of our participation and accomplishment, looking forward to what we dubbed as “Hell Week,” the week we’d be at school until 10:00 every night, practicing and perfecting every final detail. The week would be crowned by the three performances for large audiences which we’d come out of glowing and already getting nostalgic.

So here I am, at the bitter end of Hell Week for a non-high school show and all I feel is totally wiped out. There’s been nothing overwhelmingly arduous about rehearsals this week – we even had last night off – but tonight we’ll have our first real performance and I have no enthusiasm, no energy.

What’s the difference?

For a start, this is the first major role I’ve ever had. Prior to this show, I think I maxed out at 20 lines, and mostly I never had any lines at all. In previous shows, I’ve coasted along on the coattails of the more key players without really having such a huge investment myself. This time, a lot more is riding on me. I feel a little stressed about that.

Next, this just isn’t high school anymore. I don’t spend my days surrounded by a swirling mass of friends, classmates, and teachers who are all just as excited about this as I am. These days, I work in an office where everyone has their own, very separate concerns in life, not to mention work that they’re focusing on for the day. Don’t get me wrong – my office is hugely supportive of the arts – especially the ones our workers are involved in – and they’ll probably all come see the show, but they’re not IN the show. There’s no feeding off each others’ energy the way you would in high school when you sat down in math class and realized that the people wearing Pirates of Penzance t-shirts outnumbered everyone else.

And then, I suppose, there’s the basic fact that I have a job. I work 8-5 every day. None of this getting off at 3:00 business. I’ll run directly from the office to the show, gobbling a peanut butter sandwhich on the way because that’s all I’ll have time for. My hair and makeup for this show takes two and a half hours. I’ve done that every day this week so far, and I can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to do it again.

So why? WHY am I doing this??

Because tonight we’re going to have an audience. And they are going to laugh uproariously as poor Barney Cashman tries so desperately to get lucky and fails, over and over again. Because maybe I’ll forget a line or two, but maybe I won’t and the audience will say, “My goodness isn’t that young lady with the long straight hair talented!” Because I love to dress up and step into someone else’s shoes for awhile, and let’s face it – who doesn’t love a little applause? And when it’s over, I’ll wish it had gone on longer. I’ll stick a picture in a frame and think back fondly on the whole experience, forgetting how tired I am today and how many grumpy hours I spent with the straightening iron. And I’ll start to think that maybe it would be a good idea if I gave it another go…

And some time next year, I’ll be posting a note a lot like this one, begging you to come see my show, to make all the struggles and efforts more than worthwhile.

Please come see my show?

The Pickle Ladies

So after discovering our parts last week, Anne took to calling me the Principle Pickle. I can’t blame her. “Pick-a-Little” sounds a lot like “pickle ” to me. And so I was inspired to a flight of artistry. Check it out:


The Pickle Ladies! Hahaha. I think I’m very funny.

And, because we’re the Principle Pickles (by our own designation, not by any sort of actual superiority):

Pickle Anne
Pickle Anne
Pickle Laura
Pickle Laura

The Agony & the Ecstacy (of waiting for the cast list)

Four whole days to wait for the cast list! Evil, I tell you, evil.

Even in high school, the cast list went up the morning after the second day of auditions. There were usually a couple of casualties as kids stormed the announcement board (mostly tramplings, but I think once a fist fight broke out over a disagreement on one of the director’s choices). Somehow, my eyes were always drawn like magnets to my name, if it was there. If it was not, I would stand there and stare at the list for an inexcusable length of time, sure I’d see my name if only I looked a little harder. A good elbow to the kidney from someone shoving in from behind is the sort of thing it took to break me away.

But four whole days they asked me to wait, and then I didn’t know if there’d be a list or if I’d get a call or if there’d be some sort of general announcement at the getting-to-know-you meeting on Thursday that I can’t go to anyway…

So as I mentioned in my last post, I have to work in the same office with one of the directors. I still hadn’t decided on my strategy for handling that temptation on Monday afternoon when she walked up to me and said, “Le sigh!”

“Oh no!” I gasped. “You weren’t supposed to see that yet!”

Yes yes. I know. Don’t put something on the internet if you don’t want people to see it. But I had no reason to expect Sarah to go looking at my blog! It was my tattle-tale mother-in-law who told her about it. I had to immediately run upstairs to re-read what I’d posted, and make sure it wasn’t too damning. I do try very hard to make sure my posts won’t offend anyone, and though I do come off as a little crazy some days, I think it was okay.

Once again, and fortunately, Sarah thought I was funny. Whew.

But did she leak any information? Did she take my silent hint that I would reeeeally love her to spill a few details? Nope.

But since she now knew what I was up to, I developed a strategy: I would sigh and give her sad eyes every time I walked by her desk. The first time, I sighed so loudly I think I actually startled her. I also enlisted Anne’s help with this. Did it work? Nope. Nothing. She smiled at us and kept right on working. Curses.

Later I explained to Dustin that I was giving Sarah a new nickname, Sarah The Impervious. Even when she talked to me about my blog, there was nothing in the conversation that gave even the slightest hint away. No half smile that said “I have a secret I think you’re gonna like!” No shiftiness in her eyes that said “We’re so not giving you the part, and I’m just putting off having to disappoint you.” Nothing. She’s so good!

Tuesday I came up with a new strategy to try and shake out the information. I spent some time in the kitchen having a loud discussion about cutting all my hair off. I was sure she could overhear me, but maybe she wasn’t listening. She certainly didn’t come barging into the kitchen to say “No! You need to leave your hair long!” (Obviously I didn’t follow through on my threat anyway. Maybe she knew that. Oh man is she good!) Though I guess, on the other hand, she also didn’t say “How terribly cute you’d look with a bald head, so by all means, get it chopped off!”

Then later in the day, as we were walking over to a mixer down the street, I pointed out that I wouldn’t be able to attend the getting-to-know-you meeting on Thursday. I didn’t expect that ploy to jar any information loose right away, but thought it might butter her up for when I went grovelling on Thursday morning. Her expression of disappointment that I couldn’t come was completely sincere and yet completely devoid of any sort of intonation that would suggest that my presence – as the future lead – would be terribly missed, or that my presence – as the nanny assigned to keep track of the kids backstage – was completely inconsequential anyway.

Impervious! Brilliant! Fascinating!

Because, you see, by today, I’d pretty well decided that I didn’t really want to win this game. I was pretty sure that if I came right over and asked, she’d tell me, and that would be so anticlimactic. It’s like the week before you go on vacation, you get to look forward to it and plan for it and that’s nearly as good as the vacation itself. Getting on the plane is great, but there’s something so nice about waiting for that moment to arrive. It was sort of the same thing.

And I don’t think I’d feel that way if I was hell-bent on getting the lead roll. If that was all that would make me happy, I’d probably be worried sick, and instead of playing games with Sarah (which she probably didn’t even notice I was doing), I’d have resorted to grovelling before noon on Monday.

And so, when this evening after barely surviving Archaeology After School Program with a bunch of wily 7-year-olds, she asked if I wanted to know, of course I said yes. If she was asking, she was obviously ready to tell. I hadn’t done anything in my campaigning to twist her arm (I hope!)

With the hemming and hawing that accompanies giving bad news, she told me I would not be the lead.

Sure, I’m disappointed. It would have been fun. But it would have been a lot of work, and this way the whole event will be so much more laid back for me.

So it’s not such bad news at all. I hope she believed me when I told her that. Anne and I really will have a riot being gossippy townspeople together, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the cast looks like. I don’t envy Sarah and Dave the job of putting it together, and I seriously applaud them for being willing to undertake this whole show. Bravo! When Anne and I aren’t busy misbehaving, I happily volunteer us to help out in any way they might need. Except for babysitting the munchkins backstage. I just volunteer Anne for that. *whistle*

I want costumes like these!! Do you see their hats? Where can I get a hat like that?
I want costumes like these!! Do you see their hats? Where can I get a hat like that?

Oh, and I’ve been helpfully thinking up suggestions for next year’s musical, since being a Pick-a-Little Lady this year obviously means I have another shot at getting a lead role next year, and it might as well be in one of my many favorite shows instead of one I barely know anything about. So without further ado, I present for you a list of plays you could direct next year, and the part I think you should give me. 😀

Into The Woods (I wanna be the Witch! But I’d settle for Cinderella, the Baker’s Wife, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel… Look at what a great show that would be! Lots of parts! And I have something to make up for after flubbing my college audition… And this has the bonus of being an awesome community theater play. I mean… lots of parts, and a family-friendly story. The music could be tricky, but eh… we could do it. 😀 )

Les Miserables (Shh, this is my fantasy, I can dream big if I want. I should be Fantine in this play, though I’d also settle (haha, “settle”) for Eponine or Cosette. I don’t think I have the oomph to pull of Mme. Thenardier,  but she’d be fun too. Lots of parts in this one too!)

Beauty & the Beast (speaking of dreaming big… I could so be Belle. Costumes might be a challenge…)

Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (The Narrator, and why not? So high Es aren’t my specialty, but I’m sure someone could accomodate for that. Might be a little male-part heavy for our crowd, though.)

Camelot (One of my favorite shows. Though I actually like the song about Guinevere better than most of the songs she sings…)

This list, by the way, is completely different from the list of shows I think would actually be good for our community theater group – this list is all about me. 😉 I’ll drum up a copy of the other list some day when someone is actually interested in thinking about another play. For now, I suspect everyone’s hands will be full with the one at hand.

I can’t wait to get started!

My Life in (Melo)Drama

It is that happy time of year again! Our production of Fiddler on the Roof was so successful last year that they (the Opera House and the Arts Council) have decided to make Spring Musicals and annual tradition.

Up next on the program: The Music Man!

Do you SEE? I even have the right hair!
Do you SEE? I even have the right hair!

This is one of the very rare shows that I know almost nothing about. I can hum “76 Trombones,” of course, but my father and even my sister have managed to sing bits of songs to me that I didn’t know before I got a copy of the CD the other day.

So here’s my problem. Last year, I was totally stoked about the idea of just getting to be IN a musical. Then they gave me a real part, and I had an absolute blast, and now I’ve gotten greedy. You see, there is a part in this show that is quite suitable for a young woman of my age and stature. (Yes yes, Marian the Librarian, I’m sure you can sing it for me too.) And upon reflection, I decided I was the only person who would qualify to play her. No, I’m not the most talented singer and my acting is decidedly overdone, but of all the people I could imagine trying out (based on last year’s show), I was it.

I started strutting around, acting like I already had the part. My friend Anne and I spent some time trying to decide who should get the part of the Music Man, based on who we thought it would be least repulsive for me to kiss. The top two options seemed to be one of Anne’s gay friends and an Episcopalian priest. Talented and safe!

Then I couldn’t show up for the first night of auditions, so I had to get the skinny afterward from Sarah, my coworker who is also co-directing the show. I tried to be nosy without making it too obvious that I was trying to fleece her for information about my competition. As you’ll see, I wasn’t very convincing.

Apparently, a whole slew of unexpected and unexpectedly talented people showed up, mostly from out of town. A few of them even brought resumes, and one brought head shots!

What are these big fish doing in my little pond??

So I started getting paranoid. I even had to go ask Sarah if head-shot-girl’s name happened to be Penelope* – my old nemesis. (Though to be fair, you can only have a nemesis if you have roughly equal levels of talent. Penelope is so much more talented than me that calling her my nemesis is just my ego talking. Again.)

No, said Sarah with a great big grin. Her name wasn’t Penelope.

She’d found me out. Asking that question had been too much – my obsessiveness had given itself away. Fortunately, she thought it was funny. Whew.

So then it was my turn. Second round auditions were this afternoon, so I toodled myself up to Deadwood. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been trying to pick out an audition song since I got the announcement a month ago. I’ve cycled through several choices, and finally settled on “Every Story is a Love Story” from Aida. It’s one of my favorites, I can sing it in my sleep, I can sing it well, and it shows off my range nicely.

What I always forget (selective amnesia?) is that audition nerves KILL me. Cripple me. Turn me into goo. It’s terrible. I nearly threw up after trying to audition for Pippin my freshman year of high school. I forgot all the words to my song. Senior year, I didn’t think I sucked too bad, but apparently I was too short to get cast anyway. In college, I squeaked through my Into the Woods audition, and LAST year I got away scott free for Fiddler because no one really even asked me to sing.

But this year, the room was full of perky, Marian-aged faces and I could just tell they all had resumes and headshots, and once again, I squeaked my way through my song. I totally missed a not-so-high note, and decided I’d never make it through the end of the song where there is a really beautiful high G that I can totally nail when I’m not busy freaking out. So I just quit halfway through.

Le sigh.

I read some lines then, and that went just fine, but there were other young women there who are clearly more talented than I am. My only hope now is that they’re too busy to really want a lead role.

Later that night, I got on the phone with Anne and we spent an hour gossiping about other try-out-ees, and why – despite my sucky audition and mediocre talent – I am still obviously best for the part. I love Anne. She’s so supportive.

And I am being so ridiculous! My whole day has turned into this giant melodrama. They’re not posting a cast list until Thursday. What am I going to do until then? If I have to talk to Sarah at the office, I can’t think of any way to prevent myself from begging her for information. My only other alternative is to turn around and run every time I see her, which could be somewhat damaging to her perception of me as a not-crazy person.

So I’ll just have to pretend I am not, in fact, crazy and maybe maybe maybe she’ll volunteer some information.

And that’s my story. Okay, not too brilliant, but I guess I’ll link Anne to this, and at least she’ll appreciate it. 😉

(Incidentally, as a footnote – Dustin is currently searching for some new ring-tones on his crackberry, and he’s flipped through a couple of Abba songs. This gives me totally the most brilliant idea in the universe. Today I sang my audition song a capella. Next year, I’ll have a ring-tone as backup music. Wouldn’t that be a perfect small-town theater thing to do? What a great story. “You’ll never guess what this whacko girl did at auditions today…”)

*Names have been changed to prevent me from looking any more idiotic than I already do.

Extra Tacky Year-In-Review Letter

Tis the season to receive letters from your far-flung friends and family telling you all about what they, their children, and their pets have accomplished during the past year. I really enjoy this time-honored tradition, since it is frequently the only time I get news from people who haven’t been sucked into Facebook yet.

And there is something extra special about the year-in-review letters, something about trying to sum up your life for people who you hardly care about that causes you to do very strange things, such as narrate the letter from the perspective of the family dog, or the newborn baby. Better yet are the letters that seem to be narrated by absolutely no one, referring to all the members of the family in the third person, as if they’ve hired a reporter to document life at home.

The star of this year’s collection is a letter which detailed how the new puppy got sick and required surgery, after which the vet divulged that the source of the illness was a couple pairs of fancy panties that the dog gobbled down, and would you like to have those back?


And now I’m going to transcend a new level of tackiness by posting my Year-In-Review letter here on my blog rather than sitting down and handwriting envelopes and taking them to the post office. I always mean to do that, but my good intentions never actually make it to the post office. If I don’t do this, I probably won’t do anything. Maybe next year.

Laura, Dustin and Minou: 2008

Hello friends and family! It has been an exciting and eventful year in the Floyd household.*

Dustin and I have spent the last year+ learning American Sign Language, a skill at which we are both becoming increasingly adept. We are capable of interpreting talks up to 30 minutes on a fairly impressive range of topics. Starting this year, we will begin focusing less on interpretation and more on using the language for conversation and discussion. I find this exciting but also a little frightening. We took a field trip to Denver in September to attend a one-day convention held specifically for the deaf community, and I felt lost and totally adrift all day. I guess that’s why I need to do more work dealing in ASL without anything audible to fall back on. Yikes!

Early in the spring, I undertook to participate in the first theatrical production to take place in the Deadwood Opera House since the place burned down 25 years ago. I fulfilled my dreams of stardom in the role of Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof. It was a fantastic amount of fun, even though our opening performance was canceled by a record-setting snowfall on the 1st of May. Dustin got roped into running the spotlight, so he got to be involved too. The final performance was for a standing-room-only crowd, which made everyone involved very happy. I look forward to finding out what they’re planning to do for the coming year. Rumors say Grease. I hope they’re wrong. :p

Since, in the course of rehearsals, I spent my anniversary pretending to marry another man, we headed to Vegas for a belated anniversary trip in May. The warm and sun were lovely, the shows entertaining, and the million miles of walking between casinos was a good work out.

In June, I got to spend a week working as a Real Live Archaeologist for the Deadwood Archaeology Camp. It was a lot of fun. Myself, two other archaeologists, a handful of counselors, and 26 kids started excavating the site where an ice house once stood. We found bricks, nails, chunks of wood, shiny rocks, caterpillars, and all sort of other indicators of civilization long past. (It’s just as well that I don’t work with kids every day… the caterpillar thing might eventually have done me in.)

August saw Dustin and I escaping the insanity of Rally Week on a road trip to Washington DC driving a very small car. We took our time, drove the backroads, and finally spent a few days with my folks in DC. We didn’t do many of the things tourists are supposed to do. Seeing the FDR monument and part of a concert on the Mall were the extent of our outings, but we did discover a bakery that makes the best macaroons ever, and we got to visit our friend Scott from college, who is a Big DC Wahoo-In-Training. It was a nice trip.

After a long, lovely fall, winter arrived with face-slapping suddenness, catching all the trees still wearing their leaves and wreaking havoc with the roads and power lines. November brought one of the earliest big blizzards in my personal memory of the Hills, trapping us in our house for a couple of days. We couldn’t get out at all until our very gracious neighbors lent a hand, since ALL the snow in the neighborhood had blown into our driveway and our shovel broke.

We escaped the freezing cold for awhile when we flitted over to California to visit my grandparents. The weather was rainy, but compared to great drifts of snow, no problem! We toured around San Fransisco and got plump on my grandmother’s incredible cooking. It was wonderful.

That brings me to how I’ve spent the last couple months of the year, which is in a flurry of fiction-writing. I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, an event which challenges participants to write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. And no, despite my father’s total bafflement, no one actually reads the final product once you’re done. There’s no chance of me getting Discovered and becoming an overnight gazillionaire because of my brilliant work. (Even if someone DID read the NaNoWriMo manuscripts, there would be no chance of anyone calling what I wrote brilliant.) I completed my 50k words in the nick of time, then promised myself I’d finish the novel (50k words got me about 75% of the way there) in December, which I did not do. Maybe in January!

In Dustin news that doesn’t involve me being attached to his hip, he has taken over part of the family business, and despite the crappy economy, has managed to help scrounge up a good share of new business. Next stop: an office in Scotland. (Okay, so that isn’t in the official plans yet, but heck… optimism: pass it on!)

Minou has also been keeping plenty busy. She spent all her summer days running amok outside, escaping our yard to pick fights with the neighbor cats or sleep under the neighbor’s porch. She refuses to tell us why our porch isn’t good enough. Now that the weather is cold again, she has completely forgotten that cold = not going outside, and spends most of her days complaining about being cooped up. She doesn’t even seem to mind the snow very much, frolicking from drift to drift, just happy that we decide to let her out now and then.

Things that have not happened this year: I have not had any babies (nor are there any in the works, sorry); no personal or family disasters (thank goodness); no long-lost twins discovered (oh well). I expect 2009 will be equally full of joy and happiness and blah blah blah.


I hope the year was, on the balance, also good for all of you who might be reading this.

*I believe this opening sentence is legally stipulated somewhere. Exclamation point optional.

Why I’ll Be Insufferable For A Month

Fiddler Cast

The play is over. We closed this evening to a standing-room-only crowd. It was our best show of the entire run, and we all came out of it feeling extremely proud of ourselves. Well we should! We worked hard and strung this show together with less resources than I ever would have believed possible. Donna recruited people off the streets, we begged, borrowed and stole (well, probably not) to get all the set, props, and costumes we needed. The whole community turned out to make this thing a stellar success.

After finishing, there was the handing out of acknowledgments and favors. Donna, amazing as she is, managed to hand-write personal notes to every single person in the (60+)-person company. Dave (our Tevye) went out and had OSCARS made for everyone in the cast. (I have an Oscar! hahaha! Ssh, don’t tell the Academy. I bet they’d object.)

My Oscar for Best Actress

Then we moved over to a local pizza joint (the fabulous Pizza Lab, owned by cast member Jeff Snedeker) to party and send ourselves out in style.

The compliments I received all throughout the day were enough to cause a girl to blush even through the plentiful makeup she was already wearing. My prize for favorite compliment goes to Thomas (Motel, my in-play husband) for this gem:

Dustin: Nice work falling in love with my wife.

Thomas: Thank you! It wasn’t difficult.

Laura: Awww! *blush*

Donna complimented my eyebrows, saying even they managed to stay in character. She also said many many other wonderful things, which I won’t repeat here because there’s a point at which talking about how wonderful one’s self is becomes impolite. Music Director Dean Peterson has always been fantastically supportive. He manages to make me feel like he’s my number one fan, and the best part is that I suspect he makes everyone else feel just the same way. Why can’t more people in the world be like that?

My heart is absolutely full of positive energy tonight. I feel like I’ve been a part of a really wonderful thing. Not just any part, either, but a part that really made a difference and touched some others in the process.

So THIS is what I was missing in high school theater. And no wonder theater is so addictive.

And though I’m sad it’s over, I know that you can have too much of a good thing. We’ll just have to find some other show and give it another go. So for any of you fellow company members who are reading this – thank you SO much for the wonderful experience. We kicked some serious booty with this show, and I look forward to having a chance to do it again.