Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Camp Idon'wanna

The boys and I have been on a tour of Texas the past week and a half.  We have another week and a half to go.  We started in Dallas house hopping between a couple of our friends there.  We had loads of fun swimming, watching movies and laughing so much that my abs hurt.

We are presently in the Houston Area.  This first week I had signed the boys up for a day camp with their friends.  There would be zip lines, fishing, archery, BB gun...ning (?), swimming, horseback riding and paint ball.  Basically, there would be non-stop fun!  The boys were so pumped for camp that Sunday night they couldn't sleep.  We had to be at the bus pick up location by 7:30 a.m.  Monday morning strated rough but the boys quickly kicked it in to gear when they remembered that it was Camp Day! 

My mom and I drove the boys to the Pick Up and loaded them on to their bus with back packs full of bottled water, sunscreen, and dry clothes all labeled with their names.  As the bus fired up and began to pull out of the parking lot I did my Happy Dance.  (Little bit of The Sprinkler, some Cabbage Patch, The Pony and the like.) 

"You may want to wait to do that when the bus is out of sight,"  Mom suggested, worried that the boys may have seen my little celebration.

"Pfft.  I'm in the Dance Ensemble.  Let's get breakfast!"

We rounded up another girlfriend of mine who had sent her kids to camp with mine and headed to yummy breakfast cafe.  After breakfast mom and I shopped in a plaza style shopping mall.  While walking about I began to make note of the oppressive heat.  I've grown up in Houston.  I'm no stranger to the heat and humidity down here.   It's the kind of heat that you never acclimate to.  It mattered not that I used to play in the streets all summer in this Hell Heat.  The 10 months I've lived in Colorado have softened me to this weather.  I immediately started to worry about my sons who would be playing outside from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

That evening I picked them up.  They stood by the bus, shoulders sagging, burnished and bronzed by the sun.  They moved slowly, their limbs wieghted with exhaustion. 

"Hey guys!  How was it?" 

"It was a torture chamber," moaned Gabriel.

"I need ice water!  I need ice water!" Drew whined.

Once in the car I asked them to tell me of their day one at a time.

"First we went out to play on this thing called The Blob.  It's on the lake and you...."  I honestly don't know what it is but bouncing and splashing are involved.

"That sounds fun!"

"It looked fun but I never got on it because the line was too long.  I just stood in a line in the scorching heat watching the other kids get wet." 

He went on to share about fishing where he didn't catch a fish, swimming, the zip line, lunch ("which was the only time we were in air conditioning!"), and archery.

"And mom, I know you don't like when I do this so I am sorry if this makes you angry but I want to quit."

"Yeah...not happening.  How about you Drew?  Tell me about your day?"

"It was PATHETIC!  What does 'pathetic' mean?"

He enjoyed The Blob, but fishing was a bust ("I'm terrible!"), swimming, archery ("I'm terrible!") and lunch ("It was corn dogs and french fries!!!")

"Well, I understand that there was a lot you did not enjoy and that it was very hot..."

"Screaching hot!" Drew added.

"...screaching hot...but I would like to know what part you did like and what you look forward to tomorrow."

"LUNCH!"  Drew shouted, "And tomorrow we get to paintball!  They won't let us shoot each other though.  Only targets.  But I don't want to go tomorrow."

"How about you Gabe?"

"The thing I liked most was lunch because it was air conditioned and the thing I most look forward to tomorrow is Going Home."

"No.  What activity at CAMP do you most look forward to."

"When they tell us its time to go home."


"Paintball.  Though it's lame that we only get to hit targets."

The rest of the evening my friend Lesley, who was hanging with us that night, and I spent our time encouraging the boys to have good attitudes at camp.  Les reminded them of Robin Hood and how cool archery was. 

"That's OK that you didn't do well today Drew because it was the first time.  You will get better every day!"

By the end of the night Drew was asking for archery lessons and was sure he would do better, like Ms. Lesley said.  We prayed for cooler weather and then both boys went to bed dreaming of paintball guns.

The good night of rest and time in air conditioning delivered happy campers in the morning.  I sent them off again for another sunny and fun filled day.  This evening when the boys were dropped off they bounced off the bus with light steps and beaming smiles. 


"Today was AWESOME!  We went horseback riding.  My horses name was Chunk. And we paintballed.  I was terrible!  I hit the trees and some other things but not the target.  We only got sandwiches for lunch today.  I got to play on The Blob and we did the zip line but I didn't because it was creepy.  It was up like THREE platforms!"

"Awesome!  How about you Gabe?  Did you get to do The Blob?"

"I did and it was totally rad!  I couldn't hit the target on paintball at first but then I laid down on the ground and nailed it.  Drew, next time use the sight and learn from your mistakes.  If you hit too low then aim a little higher and if you hit too high, lower it a little more.  My horse was named Chester.  I got to ride him alone and I saw the horse in front of me poop and pee."

"So it was a good day?"


Yessss!  (You can't see it but I'm doing my Happy Dance!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

WWII Era Ball 2011

Last night we went to the 3rd annual WWII Era Ball in Boulder,CO.  It's a huge event held at an airport.  There were WWII fighter planes, jeeps and paratroopers.  It was like a big USO party.  They had a Frank Sinatra impersonator.  He looked more like him then he sounded though he had a great voice.  It was just super fun!

My friends and I planned for months what we would wear since they encourage everyone to come in authentic 1940's attire.  I happened to have a few dresses that would suit the era and the perfect shoes.  Some of the gals went to vintage shops for their dresses and others rented from a costume store.  I rented a sailor suit for Aaron.

The gals all gathered early at my house the day of so I could do hair and make up.  It was so much fun!  We all kept saying how it felt like we were girls again, playing hair and make up while listening to music.  After I finished getting Caren ready her daughter gasped and said she looked "just like Grandma in her wedding picture!"  Another friend brought her Grandmother's handmade hat to top off her look.  Once she saw how she looked with her hat on she said she got chills all over.  SO FUN!!

The event itself was so awesome for people watching.  Most people's outfits looked really great and then there were a few who had the wrong era.  Flappers were in the 20's and I have no idea what the belly dancers were doing there... 

When we first arrived we were immediately asked by a woman if she could take a picture of us for her daughter who owned a vintage clothing store.  Shortly after that Aaron was asked to pose with an elderly woman.  She threw her arms around Aaron and held him in such a way that we all teared up.  We all wondered what the story was there.  Did he remind her of a brother, a beau?  She told us that she was 97 so she definitely lived through it.  All night we kept speculating and romanticising about what her story could be.

To kick off the night, our flag was marched up through the center of the crowd up to the stage and we all stood together and sang our national anthem.  I was standing next to a vet who was sweet enough to take a picture with me.  Tears again!

One of the oddest/most questionable costume choices that evening were a group of folks who chose to come in German uniforms.  I don't know if they were ballsy or if they thought they were funny.  They looked...authentic to say the least.  I wondered how the vets there felt about it...  I found it to be in poor taste.  I've read too many books too recently about the atrocities of that war.

The event was so super fun for me!  I have always had a fascination about the 1940's.  Men were men and women were women.  I loved that a healthy, curvy gal like me was the "it" look.  The look was feminine and put together.  The men....well, most were away at war and so they were in uniform.  There is just nothing like a man in uniform!  Grrr baby!  The men and women of that time had so much strength and hope!  Not just in America but all over the world people were overcoming hardships with the a grace and dignity that you don't see anymore.  Everyone sacrificed whether it was through rationing, missing a loved one who was at war, or with your life.

I've always wondered if I could  have endured the things they did.  Would I have had the courage to speak out or help out people who were being round up from their homes and shipped off to camps?  Could I have survived the camps?  Would I have had the fortitude and bravery to press on at the home front while all the men in my life were fighting and dying at war?  Could I have nursed the wounded men or survive as a POW? These sort of adversaries really reveal what one is made out of.  I would like to know if I'm the kind of woman who could live solidly through something like that but I also would really rather not have to be put to that test.

Last night was so awesome because we had the amazing music (The Hot Tomatoes had us swinging all night!) the so hot men in uniform, the gorgeous gals, and the camaraderie of it all.   I had always liked to imagine being a USO performer during WWII and there I was at a fabulous USO party but with out any of the pain and horror.

It was just too, too fun!  We have all vowed to go back every year for the revelry and to remember who's shoulders we are standing on.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Let's Hear It For The Rainbow Tour!"

"Thank you for auditioning.  We will call you with our decisions by Friday."

I was fine on Thursday.  I imagined how I would respond if they said I got the part and then how I would respond if I did not. I was good all day Friday until about 4 p.m.  Then it suddenly hit me that the day was almost over.  I had felt really good about my audition.  I was proud of the work I did and how well I performed.  Felt confident.  When 4 o'clock hit all of my confidence moved out to make way for doubt.  I tried to busy myself with pulling weeds, dishes, laundry, reading...    Texts started coming in asking if I'd heard back yet.  Aaron got home from work and it was 5:30. 

Not looking good.

I poured myself a glass of Bordeaux.

"They haven't called yet, Babe."

"Well, they have not been quick about anything.  Remember everything is slower here."

He is right.  Mountain Time is not just a time zone and they have been slow to get materials and info to us this whole time so I chalked the tardiness up to that.

"Any news?"  Caren texted.

"Not yet.  A glass of wine is due tonight whatever the answer."

"Yes.  I'm ready."

I grabbed my glass and the bottle and walked over to Caren's.  As I trudged up the hill my phone rang and my heart stopped.

It was my mom.

"Haven't heard anything,"  I answered.

Once at Caren's her daughters immediately asked if I'd heard anything and exclaimed how they are sure the directors would not let such talent go to waste.  These girls are the sweetest ever.  They can't see any reason why I can't be a famous artist or singer.

"You are the best singer in the world!"  One said.

"Yeah.  You should audition for The Voice," suggested her oldest.

Absolute dolls!

And then my phone rang again...

"Hey Babe,"  Aaron said.


"The director called.  She wants you to call her back.  Got a pen?"

FINALLY!!!  It was about 7 p.m.   I was certain I was not going to get a call at that point.  Caren and the girls wanted me to call her with them in the kitchen but I had to leave to the deck.

The conversation went like this:

"First we want to thank you for auditioning for us..."

Didn't get it.

"We really enjoyed your reading and your singing is just lovely."

"Thank you."

"We would like to ask you..."


"...if you would be interested..."


" being in the dance ensemble?"

Come again?

A burst of laughter escaped me.  "Really?  Me?"   I laughed again, "I'm sorry that sounded bad it's just that...I'm a terrible dancer."  I had considered getting the part or not but I never considered being offered a part in the dance ensemble.  Ha!

"Well first let me just tell you that we really did enjoy your audition.  When you sang I nearly cried.  I told John I could listen to you sing all day."

"Thank you."

"And I'm not just polishing your silver.  You really have a beautiful voice.  Anyone can be trained to hit a note but not everyone has a nice voice and yours is...there was a woman who auditioned before you who had all kinds of training at a music college in Manhattan.  Her voice gave me the chills!  When she left, the room stayed cold.  When you sang the whole place was warmed up.  You sing with emotion and your audience feels it."

"Thank you."

"I really think we will have a role for you in something else because we would really like to utilize your voice and acting ability."

"Thank you.  I would love that.  I'm just...this is funny to me.  I would love to learn to dance..."

"The choreographer said she liked how you moved..."  (Another burst of laughter escaped as a vision of me crying with frustration in Zumba classes flashed before me.) "...and she liked your look.  She wants to work with you and is very nice."

"Oh she is!  I liked her immediately and she really made the audition fun.  Like I said, I would really like to learn and I think this would be good experience that I could add to my resume.  I'll do it."

"Oh you will!  Thank you!"  she practically squealed.

I stayed out on the deck a bit to process what had just happened. 

They don't want me to sing at all?  Did they really like it or was she "polishing my silver" as she said?  They want me to dance.  Must've been slim pickins...

I went back into Caren's kitchen and told the girls.  I felt mixed with excitement for a new opportunity and sad for the opportunity I lost.  I'm sure I seemed mildly insane as I flopped back and forth between laughter and tears.

"It's OK," Caren said, "You can cry."

We moved on to other conversations with her family.  Periodically my face would twist into a question mark as I tried to figure out how this happened. 

At home Aaron congratulated me.  It was the happiest I'd seen him since going through this process.  Bless his heart, he wants me to have the chance to perform and do what I love but there is a thread of jealousy and resentment through it all.  I can totally relate to that.  Felt that way everytime he would travel and call about the amazing steak house he ate at or the golf course he played on.

I was still feeling bewildered and jumbled emotionally as to how I felt about the dance ensemble offer.

"This is God's doing,"  I said to Aaron.  "He thinks He's so funny.  ' wanted to be on Dancing With The Stars so here is your chance.'"

"That's exactly what it is!"  Aaron laughed.

I punched him.

We tucked the kids into bed and then went to bed ourselves.  We got into our tangled version of The Spoon.  I kept my head pressed against his back, needing something solid to rest on since the inside was going every which way, but then his back started to quake.  His whole body was then in spasms.  I recoiled when I realized he was laughing.


More laughter.

"Stop it." 

I punched him.

"Stop.  You are making fun of me!"

He finally laughed out, "You're in The Mountain People Dance Troupe!"

"Shut up!"  I laughed and punched him again. 

We were both racked with laughter, tears rolling down our faces.

"God thinks He's so funny."

"Oh He is!"  Aaron chortled.

"Well, I'm going to show Him!"

"Ha!  Be careful woman."

"I am.  He has put me in a place to dance and I'm going to.  And I'm going to be good!"

This really got Aaron's laughter rolling.

From across the hall the boys called out, "What's so funny?"

"Nothing!"  Aaron and I said together and we laughed harder.

"Why are you laughing?  Did mom get the part?"  We could not stop the laughing.  We were roaring now.

"No..."  I snorted.

"What?!  I'm going down there tomorrow to knock some heads."  Gabe said.

"No need for that Gabriel,"  Aaron said through gasps of laughter.  "Your mom did get a part."

"What is it?"  the boys asked in unison.

"She's in the...the...She's in the Mountain People Dance Troupe!  Bwahahaha!"

I punched him again.  The boys were laughing in their beds across the hall and we laughed ourselves exhausted.

I have no idea why I did not get the part.  Maybe when I get to know them better I can ask.  Aaron thinks they were just not going to give the lead to someone they don't know.  Could be.  Could be there was someone much better.  Could be they had a couple of options for Eva but not enough options for dancers.  I know they have plenty for the chorale.... 

The lyrics to Evita's Rainbow Tour kept running through my head. 

"Let's hear it for the Rainbow Tour. 
It's been an incredible success. 
We weren't quite sure...
we had a few doubts. 
Would Evita come through? 
The answer is yes. 
And no. 
And yes. 
And no. 
And yes..." 

I am looking forward to it though.  I have always wanted to learn to dance so now is the time.  It's my Dancing With The Stars moment.

"And now, performing the Argentine Tango, is Michal McDowell..."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dance Audition

There was a momentary thrill when I learned I got the call back for the dance audition  that quickly was diluted by life.  There were many things at home that I was preparing for and illnesses that I had to battle (boo) but back stage Anticipation was buzzing about.

I was not nearly as nervous about the dance audition as I was about the singing.  I think it's because I have so little experience in dance there was nothing I could do to prepare.  Well, I did take the dance classes at Arthur Murray but my three lessons there would not help much against the gals who have been dancing since they were 5.  The singing audition is scary because it's something that I feel I do have a talent in.  What if they don't like it?  What if I really can't sing and only think I can?  The dance...pfft.  If they don't choose me because of a lack of dance ability I can say, Yeah.  You're right.

They said they may ask some of us to stay and sing again and to watch for an e-mail for new materials.  They never sent new materials and the day before the audition sent an e-mail saying to just be prepared to sing.  So the day before and the day of I worked on my already polished audition pieces.  This was also a comfort because I really wanted a do-over of those songs anyway since the last audition was blurred by nerves and adrenalin.

I would love to share with you about some of the characters that showed up but since there is a possibility that I could be working with them in the near future I had better skip that part.  Yes, be sad because it would make for some great writing!

The first thing the choreographer had us do was walk.

Yes!  I can do that!

She lined us up in rows of five and 5,6,7,8, walk, 2,3,4,5,6,7,8.  This is totally my kind of audition!  This was followed by saches.  Again, a relatively easy move.  I tried to remember to make these very simple things stand out. Walk with your head high and with good posture.  Point your toes on the saches. 

Next she showed us a very basic rumba and salsa.  I felt pretty good about how those went.  (Thanks Zumba! *ding*)  Finally she got down to the choreographed bit.  It was a tango.  She broke it down into two parts and then we put them together.  We were paired off into couples and 4-5 couples at a time would perform the completed dance. 

This whole thing was so fun and a fabulous work out!  I felt really good because twice the choreographer singled me out to compliment something I did and twice she offered to lead since we were short on guys and I danced with her.  The first time I volunteered and the second time she requested me.  YES!  I figured they were good opportunities to get personal pointers. 

After we all danced in our small ensembles the choreographer then asked two of the guys to stay and me and one other woman to stay.  She had us dance with each of the guys.  This same group was then asked to stay to sing.

The other woman had a very lovely voice and good projection but it was almost too lovely and light.  Eva is ambitious and strong.  It was a little scarier performing the songs this time because the others auditioners (auditionees?) stayed to watch.  My voice was shaky.  I'm not sure if that was heard or only felt but I was more present this time and I though, the other woman did well I felt like I out performed her as Eva.  Though, I did notice they told her she did not have to do the reading because they had worked with her before.  So if this was just an off night for her they would know that too. 

All in all it was super fun!  The tango is a blast!  The drama of it!  I'm even a little sore today.  I think the Arthur Murray classes helped in that I knew the proper dance holds; where to place my hands, where to look, etc.  I feel really good about how things went.  We will hear back by Friday.  Praying!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Shall We Dance?

That evening, after the audition, Aaron and I went on a date to dinner and a baseball game.  It was just what I needed; peace and distraction from my nerves and anxiousness for the audition results.

All auditions ended at 1 p.m. so I hoped for an e-mail that evening.  When I checked around 4 p.m. there was no news.  After the aud I felt as shaky about my performance as my legs had been.  I wanted a do-over so that I could better live in it and note how I actually did.  When getting ready for my date I tried to go back through it.  I stood in the shower letting the hot water wash off the haze from my memory.  It was like trying to recall a dream.  I quietly re-performed my songs in the shower.

Yeah...I did that.  I kind of remember hitting that.  OK.  I really did a good job.

I kept hanging onto Christina's praise that it was a "solid audition."  In other words I did great.  They showed interest and now we have to see if the other pieces fall into place.

Sunday morning I immediately checked my e-mail.


I made breakfast and tea and tried to loose myself in a book.  We had been given coupons for tickets to the Renaissance Festival and Aaron and the kids wanted to go.  I kind of wanted to stick near the computer but figured they were probably not going to do any announcements on Sunday.  Ren Fest would be another fun distraction.

I helped the boys put together knight costumes.  Apparently we had lost some armor in the move. :/  We were still able to put something convincing together with a ninja costume and capes.  The boys took up their arms and we were off!  It was, again, just what I needed.  I love my husband!  He can be a little odd and quiet but he knows just how to take care of me! *MUAH!*

On the way home from the festival I just couldn't help it.  When I was in range I checked my e-mails via my cell phone.  I scrolled past e-mails looking for the production managers name and then...there it was!

"Thank you for your audition Saturday. We would like to see you dance on Wednesday, June 15 at 7pm. After the dance audition we will ask to hear you again. You may expect additional audition materials via email shortly."

I held my breathe and pressed the phone to my heart.  Then I peeked at it again and started to laugh.  Still holding the phone tight to my chest I told Aaron,

"Um...I got the call back."


"Yeah, they asked me to go to the dance audition and want to hear me sing again.  They are sending me new material."


"Thank you!!!!"

"Did you get the part mom?  Are you Evita?"  the boys asked from the back seat.

"Not yet but they are interested in me and want to see me dance now."

Those words sank in a bit.  Crap.  Am I actually excited to go to a dance audition? 

"Babe, they liked me!  They really liked me!"  I had a little Sally Fields moment.  But the dancing...eek.  I kept swinging between these two realities.  I was good enough, I was being considered, BUT I am not a strong dancer.  I have to dance for them.  BUT  they want me to sing again. They want me to sing after the dance audition so it needs to be memorable and good enough to over ride their doubts in my dance abilities.  I can learn if they are willing to just take the time!!!

I text Christina and Matt with the news.  The whole ride home I was responding to the praise and advice they were volleying to me.  I felt so blessed.  What a great team of supporters I had and how lucky that they are in the "biz."

Once home I shouted it from the roof tops i.e. Facebook and got an onslaught of congratulations from friends and family.  I'm so surprised by peoples interest and investment in this dream of mine.  I love my peeps. 

There is not much I can do to prepare for the dance audition.  I took my classes at Arthur Murray (see That 70's Show)  So once again, I find myself waiting for an e-mail.  This time one with new material attached.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Audition

I walked out of my house this morning on shaking legs.  I got in the car and put it in Drive.  Thank goodness the garage door was up or I would've gone through it.  I took a minute to calm myself down, set my iPod, and Reverse.  Evita soundtrack all the way!

I was early enough that I was able to do a run through of the songs and the monologue before getting back on my shaking legs and willing them to carry me into the performance center.

The production manager introduced himself to me and took my resume and head shot to make copies of.  There was another woman waiting.  We introduced ourselves to each other.  She was auditioning with her husband.  She had already held hers and was presently waiting on her husband.

He was knocking it out of the ball park!  I was so glad that I was not up against him for a role.

"So how do feel about your audition?"  I asked her.

"It was terrible," she confessed.

To her I said, "Oh no!  Why do you feel that you did badly?"  Inside I thought, "That may be good for me..." but I felt bad for her too.  Nothing is worse then working and preparing to perform and then your work not show.  Poop.

She did not feel that she did well on her songs.  I also asked her how they were running things in there.  What order are things done in?  Do you sing all of the songs or do they pick one?  I was informed that the monologue would be first (Thank God!  Let's get that turd over with) and then you can pick which song you want to sing and in which order. 

"Do you sing all of the songs?"  I asked.  She said no.  She sang all but one.

Her husband finished and I ran into the restroom for a breather and use the restroom, and then I was up!

I met and shook the hands of the directors and then took the stage. 

The theatre is very small and intimate.  I think it seats 150 people.  This means one would be in the audience's face while performing!  They asked to hear the monologue first.  I had it memorized but did have a time or two where I got stuck.  In the last bit of it I forgot how that section started and I did look at the script then.  I felt like I stumbled over some of that but then was able to end strong.

So I thought.

They asked me to re-read the very end.

"Start from the part where you forgot the words."  Nice.

I was asked to recite it again keeping in mind that Eva was giving a speech to thousands and that I needed to be heard by all of them.  Basically he was asking me to project.  Seriously?  No problem.  I recited it again and totally kicked the ending's ass!  Hopefully they will remember how well I took direction and not about how I got stuck on it before starting it...  

Then it was time to sing.  I chose to sing Balcony Rosada (Don't Cry For Me Argentina) as it is the hub of the show.  I thanked the accompanist for playing for us and asked that he give me time to prepare.

"When I'm ready I will give you a nod and then, if you would, please count me in before you begin."

He agreed but did not comply.  In the middle of me picturing myself on a balcony before throngs of people *BAM* he started in on the intro!  No wait for my nod.  No count in.  Grrr.  My mind was mostly thinking of that and then the song was over. 

Did I do it?  Did I sing it how I'd been working on it?  What just happened?

The directors just sat there and I just stood there.

"Would to hear...which song would you like to hear next?"

"Oh, we want to hear all of them!  You pick the order."

I chose Lament because I was pretty nerved up and was hoping to use that emotion to make myself cry.  I had been able to pull that off a couple of times when rehearsing at home.  I had big plans to move them to tears.  I gave the pianist a reminder that I needed a moment to switch gears.  I took my moment and then gave the nod. 

He began to play but it was faster then how I'd ever rehearsed it and it had more frills then the recording I had been working with.  I sang well but was again distracted by the accompanist and was not able to get as emotional as I had hoped.  He went so fast I was now feeling rushed.  Maybe they told him to keep it moving so that they did not get behind on appointments.

Finally I sang my last song, Buenos Aries.  It's a fun fast paced song.  I still felt a little "out of body" and was surprised to find that it was over but I felt good about what I had done.  The director then asked me to sing an E scale.  I couldn't compute what that meant for some reason and instead sang a warm-up in E.

"No, sing the full scale.  Go up and hold the high E.  Crescendo on it and really enjoy filling up the room and then descend down the scale.  Don't be nervous."

So I began again.  It was good.  She asked me to go up to an F scale.  I tore it up!  Then she asked me to sing the F# scale.  I hit that high note and it totally soared through the auditorium!  I shocked myself!  I had no idea I could sing that high.  It felt amazing!  She said it was very good and thanked me for auditioning.

My legs were still shaking as I carefully took the stairs off the stage.

When I got home I called Christina. 

"So what happens now?"  I sang to her.  We both laughed and I relayed the audition.

"That sounds great!  That sounds like a good solid audition."

Yea!  I'm so thrilled its done.  Now I wait.  They have call backs for a dance audition on Wednesday so I should know by Tuesday at the latest if I am still in consideration.  I can't believe that I am holding my breath, hoping and praying for a DANCE aud!

Head Shots: Make 'em Laugh

Today is the day!  After months of anticipation, weeks of immersing myself in the score and one week of memorizing the audition materials I can finally go and show my stuff.

Yesterday morning I was feeling pretty good about everything but started to wonder if I should have a head shot or not.  I figured it was too late to get something professional done so I perused the choices from my profile pics on Facebook.

Hmm...these somehow did not seem appropriate. :/ 

My brother-in-law, who has lots of experience in local theatre and television, strongly recommended professional shots. 

I got myself ready in a fuscia, button up, blouse and did my hair and make-up.  Then I called Target to see if they printed their photos out that day.


A friend suggested Portrait Innovations.  I called and they could see me but it would have to be in an hour.  This did not give me much time since the studio was located down the hill.  They also said to bring a few change of clothes, so I grabbed some tops and my kids and ran out the door. 

Portrait Innovations specializes in photos of children.  They use props and whimsical backgrounds to get those sort of Anne Geddes shots.  My photographer was a college kid.  He assured me he had taken head shots before.


We began the shoot and I was beginning to think I was pretty darn cute because College Boy said so and he was shaking and nervous.  Then we got to look at the shots. 

First there was the "Housewife" pose:
Followed by "Sweet Potato on a Stick":
And every one's favorite..."Call Me a Cab":

I could here the trombone slide a sad "Wa-wa-waaaaah."  Apparently College Boy was shaking from too much coffee and was not unnerved by my stunning beauty.  Ha!  Makes much more sense.  In a few really good shots my hot pink bra strap showed.  Arrg!  I like to match the under things with the outer things and when I first chose the fuscia top I grabbed the pink bra.  I did not even remember that I was wearing it when I grabbed the other tops.  Boo.

I picked a few pictures that would work and drove straight to Caren's to cry about my grotesque deformities.  Caren and Kevin both thought the head shots/I were gorgeous.  

Regarding "Housewife" she said, "That is NOT what you look like.  That is just a bad pose and camera angle."

How I love my sweet friend!

Her family voted on the best head shot and then Aaron came over and gave his vote as well.  He then suggested dinner out.  I found this so thoughtful of him as I was a bit wound up.  Or he is smart and knew I was distracted and would burn it. 

The tablecloths were covered with butcher paper.  The family all played hangman and doodled.  I tried to "be there" at dinner with out completely losing a hold on Eva.  I wrote my monologue on the butcher paper.

It was a great evening and I was bolstered by all of my friends compliments and encouragements.  I was surprised and touched by the people who showed any interest in my little endeavour. 

Jenny Manley, the fact that we have never met but that you have been listening to the soundtrack right along with me...that has been so surprising and touching to me.  One day we will finally meet!

LeeAnne your advice and support has also meant a lot.  You are both so sweet to be thinking of me.

All of my friends have been amazing.  Their belief in me is convincing.  I really feel good about today's audition.  I am as ready as I can be at this point.  I know I will give a great performance and if I am not chosen it will not be because of a lack of talent or preparation.  Maybe it will be my lack of experience, the fact that they don't know me, my weight...who knows but it will not be because I did not give them a good show.

Oh and here is the winning head shot:

Friday, June 10, 2011

ToooooMorrow, ToMorrow, I Love Ya Tomorrow!!

Evita auditions are TooooooMorrow, ToMorrow!!

I laid in bed.  The morning sun wiped away a filmy residue of dreams and the Evita score internally blared in my head.


I immediately began a walk through of tomorrow's morning: what time I'll wake up, what I'll eat for breakfast, what I will wear, what time to get ready.  I decided which warm ups I'd do and imagined myself rehearsing my monologue and songs.  I practiced how I will introduce myself.  I practiced different scenarios of how the rehearsal could go.  Would they expect me to hold the reigns and decide which song(s) to sing and in what order or would they give all of the direction?  I tried to guess what questions they could possibly ask me and how I would answer them.

I found that my mind was multi-tasking for as I was thinking of the next morning I could hear my audition songs playing in my head; like the background music at the grocery store.  I have been trying to immerse myself in the materials they gave me for the past week.  Have I only had it for a week?  It seems like it's always been. 

All of my friends kids know the songs because I sing while they are over playing.  I sing in the shower, doing laundry, to the dog (who sleeps through it BTW), while cooking, while driving, in everything! 

Rehearsing the monologue is not much better.  Caren taught me a trick she used to tell her students to use when studying for tests, to put your notes in a Ziploc.  That way you can take them in the shower with you.  So I would address the people of Argentina in my shower, in the car, from my back deck, to my sons (who sadly now have it better memorized then I do), and to poor, poor Aaron who can hardly stand to entertain the socialist blather.  Whispered, shouted, and growled prayers are mingled in between each "take."  From time to time there is even a few "YES!  High five to You, God!  We nailed it."

I have had a few restless nights.  Often I would wake up in the night and the monologue is automatically running in my head or one of the songs.  The other night something was outside that had Drake (and all the other dogs in the hood) very upset.  He was barking all night.  Finally, at 3 a.m., Aaron let him out.  I kept waking up to the sound of him barking, growling, and galloping the perimeter of the yard.  This made for an interesting night of dreaming.  I would dream that I was performing but Drake kept barreling across the stage after another dog; barking, growling and galloping. 

In another dream Aaron and Shalah were playing catch.

With an eagle.

I was in between them.  Aaron would hold the eagle in his hands.  It's wings were folded and it's feet tucked up under it.  Aaron would underhand toss it over my head to Shalah and then she would do the same. At some point though Aaron started tossing the eagle willy nilly.  Sometimes a wing would be partly unfurled and a taloned claw would be protruding.  He would toss it anyway at a laughing and screaming Shalah who now had to try and catch this eagle that was partly in flight.  (Oh yes was the donkey laugh.)

Today I'm going to rehearse one last time.  Caren and Kevin have been kind enough to allow me to come and perform for them tonight.  I wanted to get a little nervous rehearsing in.  It's funny how much scarier it is to perform for a small group then to a theatre of people.

So this is it.  I feel good!  I can only do my best and I'm proud of what I have to offer.  The rest they can decide....TooooooMorrow, ToMorrow!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

To Be Or Not To Be? That Is The Question~

The Evita auditions are in 4 days. 

Just soaking that in a bit here...

I have taken dance classes.  I've met with a voice teacher/accompanist.  I'm rehearsing every day and memorizing my monologue.  I'm living in it as much as life with two kids and a husband will allow and as much as my health will allow.

I felt like yesterday was a wasted day because I was at doctors offices all day.  The Hypoglycemia does not seem to be improving with diet so I may need to see an endocrinologist.  On top of it I had optical migraines and vertigo.  This scared the doctor a bit (and me) because combined with the hypoglycemia symptoms it seemed something neurological could be going on.  So he sent me in for an MRI with contrast.  i.e. dye through an IV. 

While I laid there in the MRI...machine...I rehearsed my monologue in my head over and over and prayed that what ever was wrong was not going to interfere with my audition Saturday.  Turned out to be a sinus infection.  Whew!  Glad to have the peace of mind and the antibiotics but how I would love to get those hours back!

So last night I powered through my sinus headache and nausea and sang, sang, sang.  Then rehearsed the monologue out loud over and over and over.  I rehearsed in the shower, in the kitchen and in my room.  I can tell Aaron is annoyed.  I reminded him that if I get the part it will only get worse.  He said he knows but...I wonder if he REALLY knows. 

My sons are so supportive!  They were playing in their bedroom while I rehearsed.  At one point Drew came into the room and sat in front of my mirror with me while I sang.  The sweet look on his face!  I thought I would burst into to tears at the sight of the pride there.

"Mom you are such a beautiful singer," he sighed.

"Thank you love."

"Will you sing me Rainbow High?"

How could I refuse?  While singing Gabriel came in and sat with us.  They had their heads on my shoulders with such proud and pleased expressions.  It was so sweet!  Aaron peeked in at the middle of the song and told them it was bed time.

"Can I finish this song with the boys first?"

"Oh.  Yeah.  Sure."

When tucking them into bed Drew told me he hoped I would be Evita.  Gabriel vowed to take up his sword and avenge me if I was not.  I'll have to dampen that idea since the director of the show is his schools music teacher.

Though I really want to do this show I am also wrestling with all that I will have to give up to do it.  No Warrior Dash.  No trip to Atlanta with my beautiful Lauren.  No Hot Air Balloon Fiesta.  The time with my friends and family.  Funny how I just want a break from my job as a mom but now that I may get it (sort of) I'm feeling conflicted about it.  The application for auditions also asks if you would be willing to cut your hair for the role.  Meep.

Then Aaron tells me last night that he has been hoping to take me on a trip to NY this summer.  Just the two of us.  Really?  We have not gone on a trip alone in about 6 years and that was to a B&B 30 minutes from the house.  The last big trip we took together was our honeymoon nearly 13 years ago.  Now he wants to whisk me away?  NOW when there will be little to no time in my schedule?!

All of this was going through my head while I laid in bed last night.  I spooned Aaron.

"How do you feel about me doing this show?  Are you sure you are OK with it?"

"Yeah.  I want you to go for it if it's what you want."
"But you know how much of my time this will require of me?"


He tells me I'm Eva.  He believes I can do it, I just think he wishes I wouldn't.  So I don't know what to hope for!  I prayed. 

God, I don't know what would be best.  I have been working so hard.  It would be an amazing role/show to do.  I hate that it means less time with my friends and family.  I miss Lauren!!  A trip alone with my New York...So I have to leave it all in Your hands Father.  Make the decision for me.  But oh how I want it!!!

I received another encouraging e-mail from Christina.  Such big things happening for her!  It's so awesome and I'm so proud to know her and to have her help.  She reminded me that so much of this is out of my control. 

"All you can control is what you do when you go in that room. Work it!"

She is so right.  It's in the hands of the directors and of God's.  Que sera sera!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Instant Family NOT Instant Meals

Often our family spends Sunday evenings with my neighbor Caren and her brood.  This is not a planned night like Pizza Night or Kickball Night but I'm beginning to see an expectancy for Sunday Family Fun Night.  Indeed, Caren's family feels like ours and ours, hers.  We are all awed/amused by how quickly we went from being neighbors to friends to family.

I recently watched the Big Love series on Netflix.  It's about a traditional Mormon family who still lives by The Principle even down to having multiple wives.  This particular family chooses not to live on a compound with other polygamists but out in the world.  It's about how they relate to one another and live their lives with this huge secret.  There are all kinds of things that make one think "How could anyone live like that?  Dealing with the pettiness of the other wives and the having to share the most intimate of relationships...."  However, I can also see some practicality in it. 

Women/Mothers have to often be in multiple places at once.  In Big Love the wives often rely on one another to get all the errands ran and the kids where they should be and projects done.  Even with three women some things still get dropped through the cracks but for the most part the show ends with them plopping down at a huge dinner table with the family all gathered round.

Well, Caren and I certainly have no plans to share spouses but we have found a similar reliance in one another as the mothers in Big Love.  I don't know if "reliance" is the right word's more of a safety net.  Many times through out the school year we found ourselves calling one another as we realized that we double booked something or were running behind.

"Could you pick up my Nugget from school today?"

"Shoot!  I forgot to make a treat for this event."  (This scenario would more likely be said by me solved by Caren whipping something up or pulling something out of her freezer that she made for just these sorts of emergencies.)

"Hey, I'm going to the grocery store.  Need anything?"

"I'm going Down Hill to do errands.  Want to come?"

A recent email to Caren from me:

"Hey, Drew has a biography project due tomorrow.  Our printer is not working.  Can I print at your house?"

"Of course."

"Thanks so much!  It's attached above.  It truly takes a village my friend!  Or at least one awesome neighbor."

"Ditto.  Speaking of...can you get my daughters off the bus Thursday?"

There have been times when my sons are upset about something or another and Aaron and I's words would not be received no matter how much sense they made but Caren or Kevin can hold them in their lap and say the same thing and suddenly it all makes sense and the quarrel is over or the boo boos are soothed.  This is vice versa for us with their girls.

It's not quite like having daughters but more like living next door to nieces.  I get to do the things with her girls that I don't with my boys like do hair, take them shopping, and listen to the dramas that girls have with their friends and crushes.

Likewise they have their boy times with my sons.  Kevin has a Helper now when he's stacking firewood or the like.  I don't know if there are any other boy moments that they get from mine.  I can't think of what that could be...  Ha!

Recently I took Caren's daughter to the grocery store with me.  I got her a box of cereal, a watermelon and a jar of jalapenos.  It's making Caren crazy that she has not paid me back yet.

"I really don't even remember how much it was Caren.  Besides, we are over here so often, eating all of your food...I'm sure I owe you more then jalapenos, watermelon and cereal at this point."

She of course laughs this off.  We don't owe them anything for the food and drink we partake of there.  It's how she grew up.  Friends and neighbors were always popping in and her family was ready for it with a fridge full of food.

Last night the boys and I were hanging out with Caren and one of her daughters.  The rest of the family was out and about with other engagements.  Caren and I sat on her deck sipping Sangria and watching my sons and her youngest play. 

"They are The Three Muskateers," she noted.  "I guess they will play like this together all summer!"  They never tire of each other.

It was not long into our visit that Caren brought out several ears of corn.

"I thought I would grill these tonight with my family but they have all dispersed.  Guess I'll have them with my other family!"

She fired up the grill.  When it was hot enough she placed the corn directly onto it.  I have had grilled corn before but we always shucked it, buttered it, salted it, and then wrapped it in foil.  Caren had soaked the corn in water and then put the corn on the grill, husk and all.  When they were done we peeled back the husks, buttered and salted them.  We called the kids up to the deck for their treat.  The kids loved it!

"This is even better then my mom's grilled corn!" Drew raved, "You make the best corn ever Ms. Caren!"

We called Aaron over to join us.  Caren pulled out chicken breasts that she had been marinating in the fridge.  Aaron brought over a baguette and various cheeses.  Seeing the bread and cheese fueled Caren's culinary creativity.  She then had me slice Romain lettuce in half, long ways, while she cut tomatoes in half.  We put all of this on the grill! 

The tomatoes were capped with slices of the goat cheese Aaron had brought.  Aaron sliced the bread and we grilled that as well.  We topped the grilled romaine with dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and crumbled blue cheese.  We drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top.  Our grilled tomatoes with goat cheese were garnished with a dollop of home made pesto that Caren just happens to keep on hand.  The results were amazing!

"I knew if we stayed long enough food would appear," I joked to Caren.  "See, no need to worry about that jar of jalapenos.  I'm sure this was worth more than that!" 

The meal was devoured, wine sipped, and conversation mostly revolved around raving at how Caren improvised a gourmet meal.

"At my house an impromptu meal would be cereal or macaroni and cheese," I told her.

"This is why I always have my freezers stocked," she countered.  I'll never tease her about her crazy stuffed freezer(s) again.

"What's for dessert?"  Drew called out.

What is for dessert when grilling out with Chef Caren? 
Grilled bananas with a knob of Greek yogurt, drizzled with Maple Syrup and sprinkled with chopped pecans.  Bon Apetit! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

That 70's Show

I had my first group class at Arthur Murray tonight.  Before heading to that the family headed out to the "sand lot" for a neighborhood kick ball game.  We had Mom's peeing their pants while running to first base and Dad's pretending to not be able to catch a ball so The Littles could make it to base.  Drew thought he legitimately made it around all of the bases every time.  Ha!  In one play Aaron threw the ball a little too hard and pegged a kid, stealing third base, right in the face!  At the time it was not so funny but retelling it on the back patio with imaginary slow motion was a riot.

Back to the Arthur Murray group class experience:

Such a strange group of people that gather at these things...  To start we all were paired off with a partner.  After learning a step and practicing it together we would then switch to a new one.  Another step would be added and practiced with the new partner and then we'd switch again.

My partners were a series of 1970's television characters.  I began with Hoss from Bonanza.  This dude was huge!  He told sorry jokes but he danced quite well. 


There I was, face to face with Buddy Hackett.  I kid you not!  This guy was only about 3 inches taller than me.  He wore a Hawaiian print shirt and had an unfortunate head of hair.  Even more unfortunate was his breath.  The stench knocked me back to my dental assisting days and I quickly diagnosed the man with Periodontal disease. 

Let me take a minute right here to inform ya'll that peoples with periodontal disease/gingivitis have a distinct smell to their breath.  It's the smell of stale ca-ca. The smell of infection.  It burns my eyes.  Improper brushing and flossing will lead to puffy, red, bleeding gum tissue but the worst is the bad breath.  Many people think they know how to correctly brush and floss but actually do it WRONG.  Maybe I should do a blog on that...

Anywhoo...I was quite grateful for the proper head position while dancing, which is to the left.  Both dancers look to their left which is away from one another.  Thank God.


Hello Alan Alda.  This guy was a dead ringer for him!  He was built like him too.  It was uncanny.  I thought about telling him but he was a rather unfriendly fellow who had bitterly been dragged to the studio by his wife.


Charlie.  Charlie was adorable.  He was there with his fiance, Joanne.  They were preparing for their wedding dance!  Poor's a good thing he was taking lessons because he was rather terrible.  He was not too bad at the tango though!  Wouldn't that make for an interesting first dance?


We were short a fellow or two and so Kelly volunteered to dance the lead.  She was a very tall, string bean of a gal.  College age.  Super cute and fun!  We had a great time dancing together.  I especially appreciated that she had good hygiene, did not sweat when holding my hand, and did not wear cologne.


Mr. Farley.  Remember him?  Imagine the goofy landlord from Three's Company at a dance class.  He is a smoker so...yea.  Stinky.  He came with his wife who was dressed in a teal floral print dress with a plunging neckline and with a hemline that was a few inches too short for a gal over 65.  Did I mention she was bra-less?  Though The Ladies could have used the support I have to give her kudos for her fabulous gams!  He legs had incredible tone and shape.  When Mr. Farley tangoed with his wife he pulled her in close and ad-libbed some variations from what the instructor taught us.  When it was my turn to be his partner he assured me we would not be dancing together that way.  I guess there was fear in my eyes...

"Once you've been here long enough then we dance rib to rib."



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The State of Things

Since March I have not been feeling well.  Basically, more mornings then not, I was waking up nauseous and weak.  (No, I'm not pregnant.  Not possible.)  I have felt this way before and I recognize it as a blood sugar imbalance.  Difference being that I have never had it so regularly.  It would be once every few months or something, not 4-5 days a week.  I had an appointment with my OB/GYN awhile back about a lump in my breast.  (See Oh Mammy!)  Turned out to be nothing, but I mentioned the blood sugar issue while there.  So he took some blood and tested various things that all came out normal.  He then directed me to my general physician.  My GP read over my food diary that I had been keeping, pricked my finger with a glaucometer and declared that I was hypoglycemic and on a fast track to diabetes.

"You don't have diabetes but you will.  It could be in 10 years or it could be in the next 2-3."

There are meds that I could take for it but because of my youth he suggests diet and exercise.  He recommended South Beach (can you believe?  That's what I used to do!) and weight training (another old friend).  He prescribed that I lose 10 lbs and stick to a high protein/high fiber diet with little to no sugar.  He wants me to aggressively attack this and get things balanced again.  That reminds me...I'm supposed to call a dietitian today.  Boo.

"You might be able to avoid diabetes completely by doing this.  At the very least you can hold it at bay until you are closer to 70 years old." 


I really was hoping he would prescribe that I start each day with a loaf of bread or croissant.  Continue to gnaw on said bread all day until bed time. 

I can still have breads just whole grain and minimally.  I really loathe being restricted though.  REALLY.  But rules is rules and I need to get healthy.

First day of summer today.  We are going to start with cleaning the house.  I have a Tango class at 1 and then the Mountain Men will have Poker Night tonight while we ladies are at Book Club.

Still no word regarding auditions.  They are supposed to be sending me the materials of the songs they want to hear.  It's too bad really because Christina had arranged a real ball buster for me to do!  It's 10 days until auditions and I don't have the materials to rehearse with!  Grrr...