Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring Has (almost) Sprung

Happy (belated) Easter!

And if you are not Christian, happy Passover!

And if you are neither Christian nor Jewish, happy Ridvān, Theravada New Year, Hanuman Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti, Akshaya Tritiya (I'm early on this one), Vaisakhi, and Spring Equinox! And if you're still not happy, then Happy Monday, motherf@#ker.

Spring winked its coquettish eye at us over the weekend before sneaking back behind the folds of gray clouds and gusty wind. But while she was hanging out this weekend, we did some spring like things out here at Camp Crystal Lake.

It started with Roo waking up and leaving her comfortable bed to lay in the sun.

Go away; I'm sun bathing.

T. and I decided to take full advantage of the gorgeous Saturday weather to take a trip to Ikea. Yes, this was dumb, but it was Saturday and we'd only had two cups of coffee each, so we were obviously not thinking clearly.

Ikea art. It's deep. Super, duper deep.

We got a new lantern-stool for the back porch, a shade for the office deck door, an arm chair (that has not yet been assembled), and an ice cream cone. Just one cone; Trevor declined to participate, citing the fact that we were on our way to eat lunch, but is there a rule against eating an ice cream cone before you eat lunch? The answer is no: there is no rule against that.

We got home and did some homey things, which included cleaning the windows and putting in the screens, sweeping up, and hanging our new flag.


Now to be fair, Trevor did 89.76% of this work. I helped wash the windows, and I did a little sweeping. But he pretty much did the rest.

I did, though, bake a cake for Easter at the Bosco's place, and that took up a bit of time. It was a two-layer cake decorated like a lamb face. I'd gotten the idea from a post by blogger & baker Lyndsay Sung on the Handmade Charlotte blog and figured I'd give it a whirl since the tutorial made it look so easy. And adorable.

My first cake turned out beautifully, but my second, not so much. Check it out:

Guess who's got two thumbs and forgot to grease the cake pan?

But since the top I'd cut off my second cake was still in tact, I just plopped it on top of my first cake and had a rounded lamb face instead of a flat one. Because lambs are three dimensional, suckers.


I dyed my frosting a pink that was more bubble-gum than baby-girl, but the rosettes I made turned out pretty good.

I finished the rosettes,

which actually looked like the tutorial!

and then made my little lamb face out of fondant:

Just the ghost of a smile

And it was done!

Thank you, Coco Cake Land, for an adorable cake that was actually pretty easy to make! 

Little does this lamb know that she's about to get a knife to the face.
It was a lambgasm at the Bosco's Easter Brunch

And what, you might ask, did I do with that sad, sad cake that fell apart on me when I tried to get it out of the pan? Did I heartlessly toss it in the trash? Did I feed it to the neighborhood flying squirrels? No. I put the pieces on a pretty dessert plate and spackled them with leftover frosting.

They sure as hell aren't pretty, but they're tasty!

And what are we doing now? Well, Trevor should be getting into the Jeep and heading home from the Metra station right about now. I am sitting on the back porch, listening to the neighborhood come alive in pops between the short, weak showers of rain. I am also humming along to The Best of the Animals.

I am anxious to see more of the flowers that are shooting up,

Roo is also very anxious. She is hoping that they sprout peanut butter flowers. She might be disappointed.

And I am enjoying Roo as she flies around the backyard like a furry, three-legged Flash.

See that blur under the trellis? That's her. I clocked her at about 62 MPH.

Hopefully we'll get more nice weather this week so Roo and I can hang out some more on the porch. And I might do some grading. And I will likely eat some cake scraps. And finish my audiobook.

Maybe I'll see you around.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Stage Secrets, or, How We Made the Sausage, or, Goodbye Cabaret

Cabaret at McHenry County College closed two weeks ago, and I am just now feeling the loss. Some of my castmates talked about a "post-show depression," which I didn't initially understand, but I get it now.

Spring break started the day after the last show, so I had a nice break to shut down my brain almost completely. And my body shut down, too; I caught a cold on Tuesday and sneezed and ached and slept my way through the rest of the week. I subsisted on macaroni and cheese and Law & Order,



and I only left the house to take Roo on short walks around the neighborhood during which I constantly blew my nose and shuffled my feet like a sedated serial killer. She found me pathetic.

I don't catch colds. Dogs are obviously superior to humans.

But I got better, classes resumed after break, and then, when Thursday came around and I ended my office hours at 5 p.m. but didn't have to head to the theater, I felt a bit lost. I just went home and made dinner and hung out with Trevor and Roo. Now, don't get me wrong--that was all very nice. But I didn't get to put on loads of makeup or have Maggie slap gel in my hair or warm up or sing really loudly or say any of the lines I had memorized. I just watched some t.v.

And t.v. wasn't enough to distract me, so I had to write a final blog post as an ode to the cast, the crew, and everyone who came to a show or otherwise shared the joy of this show with us.

Because being in a play was so novel for me, I was fascinated by much of what happened behind the scenes during our months of rehearsals and performances. And it's just that behind the scenes stuff--the relationships, jokes, and routines--that made being in Cabaret such a memorable experience.

Part of that routine was getting ready. This is what my hair had to look like every night...

me with the amazing Jessi
...and this was what Maggie had to do to get it to look like that...

Gel. Cheap, wonderful gel.

And so it begins

This would have been a good look for Sally.

Finger waves...

We were keeping the false eyelash industry alive and well.



After our vocal warm-ups, before the house opened, we did a shakedown. And sometimes Mike, our music director, led us in a rousing chant of "Sex and Nazis." It was bizarre and perfectly perfect for this play.

Post vocal warm-ups; Pre-chanting

Every night as Bill, the Emcee, and the Kit Kat Girls started the opening number, "Willkommen," those of us who were backstage waiting to come on had a little dance party. Em, Greg, Tim C. and Tim V., Sara our quick-change rock star, and I stood in a circle and kind of bopped around to the music. We started it the first night as a kind of way to warm up and have fun, and it just stuck. I loved it.

Willkommen! There are people dancing backstage! (photo courtesy of Brian Bieschke)

Every night, I broke a hollowed out egg (courtesy of Katy) into a cup and then doused it with Worcestershire sauce. Gary and I "drank" from it, and then, after our scene, the amazing Arianna rinsed out the Worcestershire cup and put it back on the prop table. Arianna is a wonderful and tolerant human being, whose nosehairs are probably all singed out from the sharp smell of ersatz prairie oysters.

Photo from
Sometimes, when we'd just come off the stage after our bows, the women's dressing room erupted into a meow-chestra along with the orchestra's play-out music, and we meowed the lyrics for five minutes as we changed out of our costumes. I recorded us on the last night and made a (terrible) little video for you.

The second weekend of our run, in Sally's last scene--an intense and dramatic scene during which I (Sally) reveal to Gary (Cliff) that I've had an abortion--I stared at the floor to avoid Cliff's gaze and I noticed that a bug was crawling across the stage. And I stared at that bug, wanting so very much to step on it. But I couldn't. Because I was acting.

I couldn't wear my glasses during performances, and I decided not to wear contact lenses, since I could see just well enough to not fall off the stage. That meant, though, that I could only make out the faces of people in the front row, who were in the stage light and close enough to see. Everyone else in the audience was just a wonderful little smudge.

For three weeks I wore green nail polish, and the best color turned out to be from the cheapest varnish. My nails are still stained yellow, and I don't think I will ever wear green again.

The cheep green after we scraped tape to strike the set on closing night
And finally, this group of people was fun. A whole heaping mound of fun.

Nora and Em and a Kitchen Sink

Says Arianna--I WILL EAT IT ALL!!!!!!

And now it's done. But I loved this experience and hope I get to do something like it again. But, in truth, nothing can be like it. Ever.

Auf wiedersehen; à bientôt; good night.