Friday, February 17, 2017

Painting Eugene Onegin

Eugene Onegin is a Tchaikovsky opera based on a lyric novel by Alexander Pushkin.  This was Tacoma Opera's first time putting it on.  Mark, the set designer, populated the Russian countryside with birch trees which we created out of PVC--bare trunks with the suggestion of leaves projected on the screen behind.  In this photo from rehearsal we had a few of the trees in place.  (Photo by Peter Serko)

After La Boheme's difficulties, we wanted to get as much done as possible ahead of time and limit the amount of actual building happening onstage, which meant that we needed a nice big workspace. Our space was in a warehouse down at the Port of Tacoma. Work began during our cold snap, and it was cold. I was painting in gloves. We brought in a little space heater. That helped.

The space belongs to Northwest Stage ("the Pacific Northwest's premier audio-visual and staging company"), and is full of interesting things.

The first day that I walked in, I saw this sign and knew I had to get a picture of it. Ha.

I spent a little too long painting the columns to look like malachite. I did the trim in gold. (This was my second time painting these columns. They were white for Fledermaus.)

Working on PVC trees. I helped wipe them down and Gail sanded them.

Troy built this rock wall and carved the rocks in pink foam, and then I got to paint it.

Striping wall. I went through a lot of tape.

Theater load-in day. We put the rock wall out in the hall so I could work on it while they locked up the theater and everyone else went to lunch. (I brought a sandwich.) That big rock in the middle is my favorite.

We had to get everything out of the warehouse, but by this time rehearsal had moved to the theater, so we took the trees over to the Armory to finish them up. Gail and our intern, Sky, put the spots on about half of them and then I did the others to match.

This production was in the Theater on the Square. I'd never been in there before. It's a small house (300 seats), and Mark was complaining about the sight lines onstage, but it's a nice theater to work in.

More trees!

Kevin arranges trees onstage.

I went to the Friday night performance with Anne Marie and Mimi. I told Doug, "I'm off to be Russian and depressing!" and he said, "Enjoy yourself!" The first half was more light-hearted and then it got rather bleak. The orchestra had some issues, and the chorus got badly off-tempo during their first number, but the other singing and acting were fabulous (the leading lady was especially delightful). We had a fun night out.

The trees looked awesome!

They announced next year's lineup. Noel had already talked to me about doing The Marriage of Figaro for their 50th anniversary, and I found out that after that they're doing Carmen. That's so exciting! I've been hoping to see Carmen since I started this job. Looking forward to it!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Year of the Rooster

Lunar New Year sunrise! It's nice this time of year, when sunrise happens during breakfast. And Doug made us pancakes, so that was an extra treat.

I recently found out about Tacoma Rocks, where people paint rocks and hide them in parks or other places (I found one outside Fircrest Children's Dental). Through that group I learned about Monkeyshines, which has been going on since 2004 but I'd never heard of it before. In the Year of the Monkey, a group of glass artists in Tacoma made some little treasures to hide around town. Sort of like an Easter egg hunt for lunar new year. (This is not a traditional Lunar New Year activity, but was envisioned as something fun to help chase away the gray winter blahs.) They continued it through one full cycle (12 years) and have started another. So I decided to take Kate out in the morning and hunt for a rooster treasure. We went to the Chinese Reconciliation park, down on the waterfront.

We did not find any Monkeyshines or any painted rocks, but we had a good time. There were other people out looking too, so I imagine if there was anything there it was found earlier. It's too bad we didn't know about this last year, since Kate was born in the Year of the Monkey.  That would have been fun.

Kate says, "If you want to find a rock, you have to think like a rock!"

The lions were vandalized last year. They were carved with balls in their mouths, and someone broke them to get the balls out.

We spotted this seal poking his head out of the water. (Not an uncommon sight around here, but this one had his head up for an unusually long time.)

Sleeping heron.

We stopped by the block fountain downtown (which was not fountaining). Didn't find anything there either.

We got home in time to make ddeok guk for lunch. In Korea you eat this on Lunar New Year to get a year older. (In the morning I said to Kate, "Hey, you're fourteen in Korean age now!" and she said, "No, I'm only thirteen because I haven't eaten ddeok guk yet!") I have blogged about this before where I spelled it dduk, but ddeok is more in keeping with the current romanization system. Or tteok. Here's a video about it.

Two things you should know about ddeok guk: (A) it's very filling, and (B) it doesn't make good leftovers (the ddeok goes all mushy and slimy). So you don't want to make a lot more than you can eat at once. I was planning to take some over to Anne Marie (for her daughter Kaela), and in my enthusiasm I bought the BIG bag of ddeok. I ended up with rather more than I needed, even for two families. So then I had to find someone else to share it with. Next time I'll make a bit less.

새해복 많이 받으세요!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 collage (and thoughts)

As we come to the end of the year, I'm trying to get a few things posted, decide what's for dinner, and get as much of the Relief Society newsletter done as I can. We have to get everybody up for church tomorrow (moving to the 9:00 schedule). Just normal stuff.

This was the year that I got to paint three operas and one church show, started a mural in our dining room (which I haven't made much progress on), and pretty much otherwise failed to accomplish anything else around the house that I was hoping to do. We had a great two weeks in Ohio this summer and loved spending the time with everyone. Kate misses her cousin Hazel.

Homeschooling Kate has not been going too well. We finally got her an ADOS test (after months on the waiting list), and she did get an autism spectrum diagnosis, so hopefully she'll be able to get some more specific help when we do get her back into public school. Last year was just so awful. I need to get myself on the ball and make sure she's not falling behind. I have ideas but implementing them is a struggle.

I think the hardest thing for me this year has been changing wards. I've had some moments of feeling very lonely and isolated. We're planning to start up a monthly knitting and crocheting group, so that'll be good.

I tend to be in my own head a lot, planning my next project or whatever it is that's currently interesting me. The problem is that my next project is our Korea trip, and it's eight months away and keeping me distracted for a very long time. It's been hard to focus on anything else (like, you know, Christmas, birthdays, those other little things that I need to make happen....) I've been saving my opera painting money for the trip, but other finances are going to be tight--Doug only has two classes this coming quarter, instead of four--so I may be looking for a job soon.

Doug and I got our passport renewal forms turned in this week. After months and months of poring over maps and photos and making itineraries, it was so nice to actually do something concrete, some measurable progress towards this thing that still seems so far away. We tried taking our own passport photos--we'll see if they accept them or not.

We took Andy along with us to the auditor's office when we went to turn in our renewal applications. We'd never been there before and didn't realize there would be a wait--it was set up like the DMV, where you take a number, and then they tell you when you can go to a window. Andy was having a great time watching the flashing numbers and repeating every announcement: "Now serving P742 at window five!" (rather loudly). We thought it was hilarious, but some people were getting annoyed, so we found some other things to distract him. We'll take him back again when we apply for his and Kate's passports.

I'm looking forward to 2017. I'm sure the details will surprise me. They always do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Eight and Twelve

For a special birthday morning treat, I took the kids over to the parking garage by the library and we rode up and down in the glass elevator.

Andy was just thrilled. Kate thought it was great fun too. It goes up four floors, so it's a long enough ride to be interesting.

After lunch we went to the zoo for a while--it was raining a bit but not bad--and rode the carousel, which was awesome as well. Then we came home and had cake and presents.

Andy got more K'nex. Doug spent a large part of the evening putting the ferris wheel together. It's big! Andy at this point definitely can't do it all himself, but he'll probably want to try.

It turns out Playmobil Vikings are just the right size for the ferris wheel.

Eight and twelve are both a big deal. Kate will be going into the Young Women's organization at church, and Andy is old enough to get baptized. (We've decided to hold off on that, for a bit. I think he would have a hard time understanding what's going on.) It's a little hard to believe the years have gone so quickly. Parenting these two is certainly an adventure.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Merry Little Christmas

We had a smallish Christmas at home. I was planning to stamp wrapping paper again, but discovered that I didn't have my roll of brown paper. (I'm not sure whether I used it up or misplaced it.) Doug got us a noble fir, and Kate was very enthusiastic about decorating it. Cory and Andy have both mostly been leaving the ornaments alone this year, thankfully.

We got a set of K'nex last year, and in the past couple of months Andy has been using them a lot. (He likes following the directions in the idea book.) So we decided he needed some more.

Since it was Christmas Sunday, we had just Sacrament Meeting. It was a really lovely program. I had to get some pictures of the kids afterwards.

Andy's K'nex roller coaster is a hit.

This year's Christmas tree pizza! This one was not as pretty, but tasty.

Grandma Kathey and Aunt Kirsten got us a zoo membership (to Point Defiance). We are pretty excited about that!

I got Doug a set of leather tools (stitching chisels) that came all the way from Japan. He says they are super nice. I told him not to get me anything, since I'm saving up for a smart phone that I can use to take video on our Korea trip. He did get me some blackberry honey. Honey from my honey. Awww!

Merry Christmas!