Thursday, March 26, 2015

If you know the Gounod

I'm currently working on set painting for Tacoma Opera's production of Roméo et Juliette. Progress has been a bit choppy--largely because people keep getting sick--but it's coming along! Theater load-in is next weekend.

There's a Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet that's pretty well known, but that's a ballet. Anne Marie asked me who the composer of this one was, and I said, "I don't remember--not someone I'm familiar with. I think it starts with a G. Or maybe a C." She looked it up on her phone and said, "Oh, Charles Gounod! I know him."

Later I was checking out the Wikipedia article and realized that I know him too.  Or at least one of his works.   He wrote the Ave Maria that's superimposed over Bach's Prelude No. 1.  The Barra MacNeils have an especially lovely version on their second Christmas album.  It's the first song on Kate's bedtime playlist, and we've been hearing it every night for years. 

Years ago I ran across this video of Bobby McFerrin and was absolutely enchanted.  I had to go look it up again after I made the connection.

I can't help but think what a transcendent experience it must have been to be in that audience. I've always loved the bit at a concert where the performer will stop singing and let the audience carry the song for a while. It creates a brief feeling of connection that always gets me a bit emotional. (I remember being at a concert in Bannerman Park in St. John's Newfoundland, sitting on the grass in the twilight, softly singing "Sonny's Dream" along with all the other concert-goers, and getting positively teary-eyed. And I don't even like that song.)

Bobby McFerrin does some amazing stuff.  This video is fabulous as well. Both entertaining and astonishing.

My mind is blown.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Training Chopsticks

I got these for Kate a while back, and I've been wanting to get a picture. (They're cute! And pink!) At this point I'm not sure if they'll really help her learn how to use regular chopsticks, but we shall see.

She wanted to get some pho. That's my girl!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Birthday Jjigae

Doug and I went to to lunch (without the kids!) and I got some kimchi jjigae for my birthday. This time we went to Gangnam BBQ (which used to be Honey Pig and was Duriban before that). It wasn't the best jjigae I've had--I think the kimchi was too fresh--but it was a good meal. I ate three bowls of rice.  (They were not overly full to start with, but still, lotta rice.) And then I got a birthday nap, which was awesome. And my family called and sang to me badly, as is traditional.

We finished up the day with a ward activity (where I got a nice long sit-and-chat with friends), and I did not have to do any cooking or dishes all day.  (Aside from the breakfast oatmeal.  Which I'm not counting.)  So, all around, good day!

Doug got me some flowers, too (roses and alstromerias). Awww!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Peeking Up

This was a nice surprise today!

I planted tomato seeds on the 13th and hadn't seen any signs of sprouting yet, so Friday night I went up to McLendon Hardware and got a seedling heat mat (I was going for just the mat, but they had the Hydrofarm Germination Stationon sale, so I got that.  Comes with a tray and dome also.) I put the seeds in it that night and had some little baby sproutlings Sunday morning! They might have come up on their own anyway, after being in the dirt for a week, but I'm thinking the heat helped.

 I planted twelve different varieties and a few of them haven't made an appearance yet, but I am optimistic. And if they don't come up I've got plenty of time to try again.  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sunny Days

We have been having a lovely early Spring.  It's crazy how everything is blooming.  (Tacoma has a Daffodil Parade in April.  I'm not sure what they'll do this year--all the daffodils will be gone by then!)

We took advantage of some lovely Saturday weather at Titlow Park.


Down at the beach.

Finding crabs.

What Andy does when a train goes by. They are close! And loud!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

So this happened....

It's February 15th. There's something wrong with this picture.

Friday, February 13, 2015

In which Doug hits half a century.

This guy is fifty today! (This is rather unfathomable... fifty?  Really?)  Still as cute as ever. 

Doug's big present is still on the way (clearly I should have ordered it sooner...) but I did have something for him. I got ahold of family and friends ahead of time and got people to contribute to a "50 things we love about Doug" card/book.

Andy got to add his own personal touch.

Helen Chick contributed a poem. (Clever!)

A gelli print for the back cover.

Doug and Kate enjoy checking out everyone's comments (while Andy hides under a blanket).  Doug is awesome and funny and smart and dependable and resourceful... so many things.  In fifty years he's developed some unusual talents and interests.  (And he makes fabulous homemade pasta!  Score!)

We had a nice little birthday observance at home. Andy's been sick all week with a cough, fever, and ear infection (ugh!) but he's finally starting to feel better, and we had a gorgeous sunny day. (I started some tomato seeds!) We are planning to continue our celebration with a trip to East India Grill on Monday.

Happy birthday Doug!  

Friday, February 06, 2015

Planking the Pinafore

I've been busy working on the set for the latest production of Tacoma Opera--Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. It's been a year since I painted for them and I was thrilled to be back. It's been a bit hectic but it all turned out great. (Picture from Evan's phone--I, with my 50mm lens, cannot get the whole set in the frame even if I go all the way to the back of the balcony. )

Evan Ritter was the set designer and lighting tech guy for the show. He made this fabulous model (out of illustration board). I love the forced perspective with the diagonal walls.

For this show I got to paint lots and lots of flooring. We decided to recreate a polished wood deck on the ship, so I got some high-gloss paint, marked off eight-inch boards, and painted all the wood grain by hand. The opera now has a big space on the bottom floor of the old Armory building (for rehearsals and set preparation), and I spent many long days holed up there with my audiobooks and my snacks.

I did about two dozen of these things. I got faster at the wood grain, but probably still ended up spending longer than I should have. Re-doing all the seams after finishing up the boards did get a bit tedious. (The last couple of days, all I was doing was seams. I developed a system.)

Tony loading up the boards to go to the theater.

"Just like laying flooring!" says Tony. "But less rewarding," I say.

A little floor touch-up. My painting clothes have become excessively more painty.

Our comp tickets were for dress rehearsal rather than opening night this time.  I took along my friend Wendy and her daughter Melanie, who were both in our multi-stake Pirates of Penzance, and we enjoyed finding all the similarities between the two shows.  (Sir Joseph was particularly fabulous, in a mincey-poncey-Scarlet-Pimpernel kind of way.)  I also got to stare at the stage for two hours and compare notes with the rest of the production crew, which was good.  We ended up darkening the interior walls (seen through the doorways), painting the door frames red, which was not in the original plan, and changing some of the gold trim to red.  It made things pop!

We new buddy Johan. I had a couple of helpers as we were finishing up for opening night--holding my ladder, handing me stuff, and washing out brushes for me. And when I was done they helped me carry everything out to my car. It was awesome.  (Though I neglected to check the paint cans to make sure all the lids were on securely, which turned out to be a problem later!  Oops.)

Swabbing the deck. We really cut it close--patrons were congregating out in the lobby as we were cleaning up. Whew!

I get to help out with the next show too--Roméo et Juliette, in April. I'm excited already.  It's all great fun. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dragon Party

With a birthday right after Christmas, Kate has never had a big party. We decided to have one big hurrah for turning ten. And I decided to throw myself into party preparations as if I didn't already have a dozen things to do. (Might as well have fun with it, right?) First up, invitations, with a dragon based on Kate's drawing. I colored the dragons with my Inktense pencils and used double-sided gelli prints for the cards.

I came up with lot of ideas for decorations and party favors. (The kitchen table was a mess for a few days.) I painted a tailless dragon on foam board, for a game of Pin the Tail on the Dragon.

I got these little boxes for favors, and painted scales on the sides and dragons on top.

Stamped table runner (with a craft foam stamp that I made).

This was kind of an experiement--gelli printing right on gift bags. It took a couple tries to get the hang of it (I had some blank spots where the handles connect and had to touch those up), but it worked well and looked really cool.

I made a foam stamp with the kids' names, stamped the bags, and then gave them their stamps in their bags. (I wanted to make some other stamps for them too, but ran out of time.)

Garlands of gelli print hearts on ribbon. (I have not previously owned a glue gun, but got one recently for making stencils and textures for gelli printing. I think this the first time I've used it for anything else.)

Cupcakes by JoLee Watson (JoLee's Custom Cakes).

We put candles in two cupcakes and said they were dragon claws.

We had the party at the Star Center. Room for ten kids--eight besides Kate and Andy--and everyone that we invited was able to come! We'd never done anything like this but everything pretty much went off without a hitch (the only thing I forgot was a bag of clementines), and all the kids had a great time.

Root beer floats.

We had the kids make their own tails for Pin the Tail on the Dragon. (My sister Betsey did this one time--hers was Pin the Tail on the Duck--and I thought it was a great idea.)

Doug made this tail (which he later stuck on Andy).

Ellie set the dragon on fire.

The complete set of tails.

We had an hour in the party room and then an hour to play on the climbing equipment. The Star Center has some fun stuff.

A good time was had by all! It really was a fun party. Success!