Saturday, December 26, 2009
We had Santa gigs and ran around for those.
I had writer's group for a couple of times during December. I'm on my way to winning the rejection letter contest again.
And we have Christmas! So I baked cookies, fudge, banana bread, cardamom bread...and more cookies, more banana bread, more cardamom bread!
We wrapped gifts, opened gifts, played with gifts, traveled a bit, watched movies. It's been a busy and wonderful December.
(So this is a rather bland entry. But that's what we did and it's been over 20 days since I last posted so this is to get me started again. Almost time for the reality to set in...but not yet. :) )
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Actually, I'm not talking about the children's eyes. As I stand in the background watching who sits on Santa's lap to get a picture, it's the adults--and the teens--that amaze me. There are many who want a picture with Santa, too. One massage therapist and her whole staff got a picture with Santa. They loved it! There were the two sisters (teen and young adult). And there was a grandma, too.
There are some adults who still believe in the magic of Christmas.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The scans don't look as good as the originals (I don't think) and the giraffe picture is not fully colored but there they are.
Phew, I'm worn out. My courage is drained for the night.
We did make it through the play without coming out of character until the end then laughed with everyone else about the animals. We managed to survive feline attacks and trying to be rescued by a Doberman.
(We happen to like animals. Even as I type this, Big Oh is curled up between my arms, snoozing. If there are typos, blame Big Oh.)
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
- Four Elvy (character's name) stories.
- Weekly letters to my missionary son for the past 10 months or so.
- Non-fiction article about my cats.
- Non-fiction article about reverence.
- Outline for a new script for children to perform.
- Blogging (okay, I noticed that I've missed a few weeks of adding a new entry; I've been writing stories).
*Scheduling: I happen to like lists and schedules. It keeps me focused. Given the time, I may spend hours dinking around and not getting anything done. Then comes the busy schedule all of a sudden (such as money-earning work or needing to fix the roof) and I have no time to enjoy creative pursuits--writing, drawing, sewing, crafts, playing Catan--or no time to actually get the house clean or de-cluttered. So many wonderful things to do in this life. A schedule helps me remember what I really want to do.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
I'm still practicing drawing and adding color. I don't know when I'll call myself an artist; it may be a long while. In the meantime, I ended up with a drawing I liked! I took a picture with my camera to upload this so it looks a bit...interesting. I didn't actually color in a light source; it's just the flash bouncing off the white paper. But I was pleased with the way the original came out. (Yay!)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Submitting articles is difficult. As I'm sealing the envelope the "Did-I's" whisper in my ear*: Did I write the cover letter right...was it too [insert word here: silly, stupid, dull, wordy, short]? Did I correct all grammatical errors in the manuscript and in the cover letter? Did I send it to the exact right editor at the exact right publishing house at the exact right time? Did I take enough time to research publishers? Did I [insert lots more questions here]?
I sometimes have to leap over the Did-I's so I'll actually submit manuscripts. Not that I want to slop through the process but I could be writing and revising forever without making efforts towards actually submitting. I've heard it said this way: The paralysis of analysis, meaning we analyze something so much, we don't DO anything. We freeze up. So this week, I unfroze and leaped. Which is kind of funny because I had printed out the manuscripts last week but kept them on my desk, paralyzed by the Did-I's and Should-I's (Should-I's go along with the Did-I's: Should I send it to this one or that one? Should I be funny but professional in my cover letter? Should I have my writer's group critique it one more time?) Well, at least I did leap even if it was a week later.
*Did-I's are similar to Shel Silverstein's "The What-ifs" - both can be a real nuisance.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I finished teaching a four-day class on July 30th. There were only 7 kids in the group. One would think that would be easy. There was ONE kid in there who made the whole class a drain on my energy. I try to work with kids who aren't "getting it" or who seem to be holding back. If they seem to have a bad attitude, I first assume that it may stem from being fearful or uncomfortable with what we're doing, so I try to help. I want to help them be successful. But if a bad attitude continues with no effort on the child's part, I can't help--no effort on my part will make a difference, not until the child tries.
Monday, I started teaching another group of kids for the four-day run. What a delight! They all TRY. There is one student who is rather shy but she still tries. It may be beyond her comfort zone but she still tries. Sometimes the activity is difficult for her but she still tries. Another student in there is older than the rest. The class for her age got canceled so she opted to go with the younger kids. She still tries. Sometimes she likes to cop an attitude but when I have her get up and moving she still tries. And because they all try, they're actually doing well in the class and we're having fun.
I would rather have kids who try than kids who have the ability but don't put out any effort.
My husband teaches Spanish at a community college. His students are older but they're like my little guys--some try and some just don't. Hm. I wonder which ones are pleasant to be around.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Well, then. I guess I'll say the script is in incubation instead.
(it's July 31 for another few minutes. I thought I'd write while it was still July--so I got in two posts. Yay.)
Balloon twisting is rather fun. Today, I took my twisting supplies and a book of more difficult twists with me to a friend's house to practice while the kids (including teens) celebrated one girl's birthday. Kids can hear the pump a mile away. I made a hat for the birthday girl, and suddenly a 10 year old boy wanted something too. He was so excited. But he wasn't the only one. A big kid (translation: teenage boy) wondered if I could make him a sword (not unusual). Another girl wanted a hat. I made a couple of fishing poles with fish attached. I didn't get a chance to practice the more difficult twists in my book. I'll have to do that in my living room with the doors locked, the curtains drawn and a "do not disturb" sign on the front door!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Now onto this busy week of teaching clowning skills at the children's museum and theater skills for Educational Enrichment.
There has got to be a time to collapse, I just can't find space for it on the calendar.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
So I wrote a picture book story today, 388 words. It was so much fun!
Monday, July 6, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
A couple years back, Chris, Ian, Hannah and I were in an independent
film--no pay but it was interesting. Chuck Magee of Wounded Rat Productions
recently posted a trailer on You Tube:
On the running time, I'm at about :07, Ian (the mime) is about 1:48 and
2:07, Chris is at about 2:03-2:04. Hannah isn't in the trailer.
Next week we get to go watch the whole movie (just a private screening for
What a riot!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
G has finished numerous middle grade and YA novels. And every other month, he has a great idea for another one--no, no, he doesn't just have the idea, he writes the first few chapters. He hasn't been published yet but I'm anxious to have him be "discovered." I wish an editor would hurry up and do that. I have to have his book before I can get an autograph.
C writes interesting travel articles. Yes, compared to the dry, uninteresting travel articles. Every time he brings in one for us to critique--that would be every time we have "group"--I want to go where he's writing about. Now and then the travel article doesn't have enough personality so he rewrites it and brings it back as unique as he is. He has been featured in an email newsletter for MONTHS now. I wonder if it's been a year yet.
A illustrates and writes. It's marvelous. I do have A's autograph on a magazine cover she did and on a "comic book" she created for a non-profit. But the chapters she brings in for a couple of different novels she's working on make great reading. The characters are so distinct and fun to read about.
And then there's me... I really shouldn't be so selfish. I'm learning so much by critiquing their work but I'm not bringing enough in for them to practice critiquing mine. A presenter at a writer's conference said that you should join a writer's group to critique work rather than have work critiqued because you learn more that way. I better exhibit a bit more self-discipline and make myself write gobs of material for the sake of the group. I suppose that means getting up early or not watching as many movies...or perhaps I could just think and type faster. Ooo. I'll do that!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Our plan was to spend Christmas break with my husband's folks. We told everyone. But about three days before we were to leave, one or more of the kids got sick, so we couldn't go. We neglected to let anyone know that we weren't going. We spent two weeks at home with few phone calls and visitors. It was quiet and slow and wonderful.
More difficult still is being the director doing the casting. Especially if it's kids auditioning. There's always something slightly unique about each kid's audition. It would be such a delight to work with each kid in a spectacular role. But there aren't enough spectacular parts to go around. As a director, I can only hope the kids who are cast will make the best of their parts whether or not it's ones they wanted.
Directors tend to quote Alexander Pope, "Act well your part; there all the honor lies," or Stanislavsky's "There are no small parts, only small actors," in trying to encourage actors--especially kids and youth--to feel good about a small part they ended up with. But disappointment is disappointment and it doesn't go away with a good quote. I always do the best I can for any role I'm cast in but I might be disappointed for a day or so if I didn't get the part I hoped for. So I feel disappointed and then it goes away and I enjoy the rest of the process. That's life in general, isn't it?
Monday, June 22, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
"But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them..." Jim Croce "Time in a Bottle" (I wish it was "Thyme in a Bottle;" I have some growing in my garden)
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
Now it may seem I'm being pessimistic about my chances of getting a story published. No, I don't think so. I believe my stories are pretty good, many times they're better than things I've read. But the chances of my story hitting the exact right editor at the exact right time are slim. There are numerous people submitting stories. But because my stories are well-written, because I act professional (I type up my pages on plain paper, double-spaced; I don't pour perfume on them or send a box of chocolates with them just to be noticed, for example), and because I keep on editing my work and submitting it, I believe that eventually I will be published multiple times. What a paradox, eh, believing my chances are slim but believing I'm still going to be published? Well, I just have to keep submitting (and writing and editing and researching to whom to submit).
My optimism shows in the fact that I am still submitting.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
A asks B a question.B answers with a question. And on it goes. No hesitating, no repeating a question over and over (e.g. "why?" "why?"), no changing the subject, no statements, or partial statements (e.g. "No. Did you?").
A: Do you play soccer?
B: Do I look like a soccer player?
A: What does a soccer player look like?
B: I don't know.Why? [BUZZ-statement]
B's turn to go first:
B: Is your hair naturally brown?
A: Can't you see my hair is red?
B: Why do you think your hair is red?
A: Are your eyes blue? [BUZZ-change of subject]
Now they're both concentrating hard:
A: What's your favorite food?
B: Are you familiar with Thai food?
A: Is that your favorite food?
B: Do you think it's my favorite food?
A: Why would you mention it if it weren't?
B: Did you know there are 10 Thai restaurants in town?
A: Are there any in my area?
B: Where do you live?
A: Haven't you been to my house?
B: Who would know better than you?
And if they go a little faster, it gets harder.
So practice awhile, then challenge me to a game...
Do you think you can beat me? :)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Then I headed indoors & made myself re-caulk the tub like I've been telling myself to do for ages. "It'll just be a quick clean up and a quick caulking--no big deal" I told myself. I lied. That took a few hours of scrubbing the tub and applying the caulk.
Basically, my arms were rattled by the hedge trimmer, my hands were clinched while raking the blackberry stems, my back was constantly bending and unbending as I picked up those stems and caulked the tub. All this, on top of a 3 mile hike yesterday.
I hurt. I want to go back to sitting in front of the computer most of the day.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
***I remember the first time I volunteered to do street mime. I acted brave because I thought everyone else was brave but me.
***My first writer's conference was a three day retreat and I signed up for a critique and open mic. I was trembling.
***I volunteered to write a musical even though I didn't have musical training.
***I knocked out walls to create bookshelves. The first hole was the hardest to make.
I scare myself with what I think I can do. Both characters of Nemo and Marlin, from Finding Nemo, live in my brain. The Marlin side is always telling me, "you think you can do these things and you just can't." The Nemo side is always saying, "but I can do this." (Then there's the Dory part of my brain, but we won't go there.) BUT...
Sometimes you have to scare yourself to find out what you can really do.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
It was a relief from write something, edit something, submit something; network, market and prep something for performances or teaching. Create a flier. Create dialogue. Memorize. Brainstorm for something to write.
I hope the brief break from the usual will help the creative juices to flow freely. I hope I sharpened the saw and filled the well. (Oh,dear. Those were cliches. The creative juices may not be flowing as freely as I thought. I'll just have to take another break tomorrow.)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
To sum up: When I was little, I wasn't thinking of being a writer, actor or mime. I wasn't planning on being a cop, firefighter, astronaut or secretary either. I wasn't even planning how many children I wanted. I played!...and did my chores and homework.
How on earth do little children plan their grown-up careers? Most seniors in high-school haven't a clue. All those actors and writers (and mimes?) who claim that they knew that's what they wanted to be when they were five--that's hard to believe. Well, I can imagine the actors saying that because they were probably already acting at that age (those pushy stage moms...joking). Perhaps I can even imagine the writers at five, setting their stuffed animals around their beds and reading them a freshly crayoned story. Good grief! I'm years behind all those driven 5-year-olds.
I do have to be grateful for living in a country that didn't decide for me, though. I love choices! And opportunities! And changing my mind!
Just like with writing, I wasn't thinking of being an actress at age 9. I was busy playing. I did a lot of make-believe games but that's not the same as wanting to be an actress. One recurring storyline for our make-believe was Charger the Bull. He was a pet of whatever-the-girl's-name was; they had adventures. Another recurring storyline was the boyfriend make-believe. I would try to claim Elvis Presley, Bobbie Sherman (Here Come the Brides), Little Joe (from Bonanza), or Manolito Montoya (The High Chaparral) before my cousins did. Does this date me or what?!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I only remember my dreams if I wake up right in the middle of one, which is the pits because I never get to see the end of my dreams. Once I woke up as I dreamed of a song. Unfortunately, my dream only provided me with the first three words and the beginning of a tune. I was left to complete it in my waking state. Not an easy thing to do since I'm neither a poet nor a musician. I had to plunk out the tune with one finger on the piano and try to get it written correctly on the staff. Then I took it to a friend to create the accompaniment.
I've had five dreams that were the beginnings of middle grade or young adult novels. I've had two dreams that were more for picture books--as short as picture books are, even the picture book dreams were too short to finish the story line. How I wish my dreams would complete the stories. Why should I have to do all the work?
I try to sketch a lot because I'm learning how to draw. I'm not very good at drawing real people or objects so I draw images I see in the clouds, in carpet or wall textures, or just a picture thought that flitters through my mind. Mostly, my sketches are silly things. Those silly sketches have inspired four ideas for picture book manuscripts. Like my dreams, the sketches don't write the words. I have to do that.
Well, sort of. Most of the plays I write are adapted from fairy tales, folk tales, fables and tall tales. I enjoy doing that. There is one play that I want to adapt from an epic poem--the poem has such a great storyline. I actually managed to write Parables, a two-hour musical based on New Testament stories (again, what is a non-musician like me thinking! oh, but it felt good to finish it and see it performed). I was thinking about tall tales when I came up with a picture book idea. I don't think I could write a script from a novel; I love books and I would feel like I was ruining it if I left anything out. Kudos to those playwrights and screenwriters who do a good job.
Yes, truly & embarrassingly, I have created plays based on what accent I want to hear. I haven't come up with any stories because of accents...well, there is a group of stories I wrote that would have accents if they were read correctly but that's because of the setting.
Best inspiration of all.
I should hurry and get those stories written before a new dream, a funny sketch, a great fable or cool accent comes along to add to my writing list.
True confession: It never occurred to me to be a writer when I was five...or 10. I was busy playing. I didn't write. Except now and then for a school assignment. I read a lot. Does that count?
I wrote my first play when I was 32. Well, I did start one in college for my play writing class. I tossed the script after I got a grade; it was stupid (the script, not the grade). I wrote plays because I could and it was cheaper than paying royalties. I didn't know I wanted to be a writer until several years later when I made myself attend a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators conference. I had to know if writing was for me. I signed up for everything--a critique, open mic, critique groups. Geez, I scared myself to death.
So now I know. I'm a writer.
Friday, May 1, 2009
starring Harrison Ford, Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, some cute kids, etc., along with Jeanette McMahon (pronounced "mac'-muh-hon," not "mac-man'," she informed me, and I hope I got that right) for whom I was the stand-in. It was fun meeting her. A stand-in gets no film time. As a stand-in, I'm basically a prop that can move itself; I was to stand-in for Jeanette during camera and lights set-up. There was more standing around than standing in. But I loved it! Let me tell you about it:
*There are more crew members than cast members. I would guess that the crew outnumbered the actors about 10:1. But maybe it just seemed that way because they were moving everywhere.
*Crew members get to carry cool utility belts that are just like Mary Poppins's bottomless bag. Once the main little girl actress sneezed and needed a tissue. No less than three crew members started pulling out tissues from their utility belts. The crew member in front of me pulled out a can of Dust Off to clean the camera lens then it disappeared back into her utility belt. Someone called for scissors--they were coming out of all sorts of utility belts. The mechanism for the lift on the van dropped and busted open a bit. Two crew members had that back together with electricians tape. Tools, tape, tissues, scissors, lint brushes, and probably the kitchen sink were inside those belts. The radios they all carried were primarily clipped to the back pocket. It looks kewler that way.
*You can get a lot done as a stand-in. I was on set from 9:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. I stood-in about three times; watched a lot, and edited my children's script for CET (www.cetsalem.org) using a clipboard. Not a brilliant idea. My arm, shoulder and neck were painful when I went to bed. Ouch.
*The call for lunch was about 4 p.m. I thought that was a pretty clever idea. Then you don't have to feed the actors (and props like me) dinner, too. And the truth of the matter is: you have to film while you have the weather to do so. The food was superb! I had a little of everything. The main dishes were herbed chicken breast, tri-tip steak and halibut. When I go watch the movie, I will applaud during the credits when the caterer's name rolls by!
*For the hours I spent there, the filming was all centered around the van. ALL of the filming was centered around the van in the driveway from at least 10-7:30 p.m. Each area was shot several times. There were shots happening at the rear of the van. The cameras were moved a bit and we have a few shots of the side of the van and the skateboarding child in the driveway. The right back doors were removed for inside of van shots. Those doors were replaced and the doors on the left were removed for more inside van shots. Cameras were moved and then we had takes looking straight into the front of the van. Then seats were removed in the back of the van (this is where I got to stand-in by sitting in the passenger front) and shots were taken looking outside the van. I had to step over cables, around tripods holding cameras, and squeeze between people to get to my place. I'm telling ya: crew work is intensive and seems more fascinating than the acting.
*The real Crowley family showed up, along with the nurse who's been with them for a LONG time, I understand. How neat is that! So when you watch the special features on the DVD, you'll see Tom Vaughn, the director, Keri Russell, the kids playing the Crowley kids, and others all standing around and talking and getting pictures taken. Cool!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Crowley_(biotech_executive) This wikipedia entry is about the family, kinda, more about dad; there's a book out, too: The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – And Bucked the Medical Establishment – In a Quest to Save His Children
*I got to chitchat with the Grandma of the boy who plays John, jr. After the shoot is over, they're touring Oregon. I told her some Oregon greats to go see. What fun.
I learned so much while watching everybody do their thing. It was fascinating (did I already say that?). Mainly I learned I prefer the stage!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Wow! Sure enough after doing taxes, I really needed to do something creative. For the past few days since April 15, I have managed the following:
*Completed one 1000 word non-fiction article
*Completed and posted clues for five letterboxes
*Rough drafted one 355 word story
*Drew and colored five illustrations (I should post one or two)
*Edited a cover letter, then sent it with the story to Hopscotch.
*Wrote a 471 word piece and submitted it to Family Fun.
*Re-read (Reading is part of my writing education) Escape to Witch Mountain so I could remember details before seeing the newest Disney version; even the trailer is incredibly different from the book, looks fun but totally different from the book
I didn't get to my script or theater book like I planned but tomorrow is a new day in which to create.
"The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul." Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
The article ideas keep flowing because of the instructions given in Christina Katz's book Writer Mama, How To Raise A Writing Career Alongside Your Kids. (http://www.thewritermama.com)
I think, too, that I'll play Syzygy (www.thatwordgame.com), a fast-paced word game. I deserve several days of playing after the intensity of doing taxes.
Words, glorious words: reading, writing, playing. I love it!
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I love performing once it's over. But the preparing for it can be so stressful. I tend to think I'm not ready--sometimes that's true. Fortunately, my husband with whom I usually perform is understanding, especially when I pre-apologize. When I perform with my daughter, I worry though because I know she'll be better memorized than I and I don't want to goof her up. My husband is able to wing it until I figure out where I'm supposed to be. It always feels like an eternity has passed by while I'm improvising lines with my husband but in reality we're talking up to five SECONDS.
Time is such a relative thing.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
I had written a number of children's scripts when I got the idea that I should submit them to contests and to publishers. One publisher's comment in the Writer's Market book was: "Don't write scripts. But if you must write scripts, don't write children's scripts..." That was slightly discouraging. One of the children's plays I submitted for a contest was one for children to perform; admittedly, it was not a heavy theme. I got--was it a 0?--from one judge and a 5 from another. Okay then. My script should not have gone there.
I write and submit picture book texts. The picture book market, editors say, is soft. Figures. I once had an editor critique a story and she asked me to email her a copy so she could discuss it with her staff. It was a no-go. A different editor critiqued the same story six months later. She didn't like it at all. All-righty then.
More scripts and picture book texts have gone out...form rejections usually. And let the record show that I AM trying to improve my craft.
We performed a murder mystery that was so un-fun for a customer that she posted it on the internet. *sigh* I suppose she should if she really felt that way. I performed a singing telegram for which someone called later and was so displeased. Okay, actually I've had two displeased calls about singing telegrams. I love performing mime but even from my own grandmother I've heard, "I can't understand a thing you're doing." *heavier sigh* An arts-in-education organization, for whom we did shows geared for elementaries, took us off their roster because there weren't enough requests for us. *heaviest sigh ever*
And yet...and yet...
*Ridge Mill Elementary in New York won a theater contest with one of my scripts. (Personally, I think it says a lot for the directors and their students but still it was my script). A short script of mine was published in PLAYS magazine.
*One murder mystery audience member said after a show, "That was so great, I kept forgetting to say my line!" Another participant decided to get involved in her church theater group after being part of our show; she said she didn't have the courage before.
*A singing telegram customer hired us two more times because they enjoyed what we did.
*After a mime show, one young person said, "Now I'm going to be smiling the rest of the day."
*A principal was thrilled with what we did for his students.
I suppose if I worked in an office someone might criticize me for not being nice enough (we had a friend fired because his co-workers thought that).
If I was a lawyer...well, they make jokes about lawyers.
If I was a teacher, perhaps a parent, the principal, or the nation might tell me how badly I'm teaching (especially if I did things differently--watch "Stand and Deliver," "Freedom Writers," or "Take the Lead")
If I was "just" a mom, I'd be criticized for not "working." (Mostly, I am "just" a mom and I've worked dang hard to be my own children's guide and "childcare provider").
I've never been one to take the easy way. Why start now? Besides, I just convinced myself that criticism comes to all occupations; I might as well not listen unless it helps me improve.
India and become a movie star.
Fozzie: You don't go to Bombay to become a movie star.
You go where we're going--Hollywood!
Gonzo: Sure. If you wanna do it the easy way.
Fozzie: (to Kermit, quietly) We picked up a weirdo.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Theater Activity #1: Projection
Projection is speaking loud enough to be heard in the back of the room by someone who is hard of hearing, even if a fan comes on. But it's not screaming. You're not speaking just to the quiet person in the front. Stand across the living room from your child. The child says, "Hi, my name is _____. My favorite color is ____________." If the child is not easy to hear, say, "Project" and the child tries again, being louder this time. Try this again as you step further from the child (such as into the hallway). Use different sentences: My favorite food is... My favorite animal is... etc.
Now take it outdoors and try again. More projection is needed outdoors where there are no walls to hold in the sound. Projection can be practiced with things such as spelling words, math facts, or historical events.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
"The Show Must Go On" is not necessarily true in business. This was a discussion at a business class I was helping to teach and the subject was the ideal customer. There are those people who are the opposite of your ideal customer. What they want makes you look bad. For us it was a singing telegram for a 2-year-old. In trying to accommodate the customer, we came off stinking...and we happen to be good at what we do. Another customer hired us to perform on the bottom deck of a boat. The walled staircase came right through the center of the area--we could only perform to 1/2 the audience at a time...again, we looked BAD! If you're in business, remember that the customer may "always be right" but not right for you and your business; the show shouldn't go on for a bad match.
Tip: Apparently, if you pour white wine onto the spilled red wine and top it with salt, the red wine doesn't cause a stain. Or you can use club soda and baking soda. We don't drink but I wonder if that would work for something like cranberry juice.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
*I renamed my theater book to Speak Up, Speak Out, Show Your Stuff: Easy Theater Activities to Improve Children's Speaking and Creative Abilities. I'm editing it. I'll probably change the name, too.
*I didn't perform this past week, but on Friday, I will.
*The kids in my after-school class did perform this past week. They did great. Parents impressed.
*I'm reading Writer Mama by Christina Katz. Good book. Learning lots. Sold an article because of her tips.
Okay, good then. I've brought the blog back on focus.
And while we're on the subject of pets: my 12 yo wanted to buy her own pet. She looked into corn snakes and lizards. I don't know why the reptiles but that's what she wanted. She finally decided on a bearded dragon. We went to the store to buy the cage set up and had everything in the basket but the light. The bulb cost $80! We put everything back and went to craigslist to see what was available. We also went to beardeddragon.org and found more information than we had before. Then we returned to the pet store to gain more knowledge. Those bearded dragons have to eat crickets every day and not the ones you catch in your field; no, you must buy the non-disease carrying crickets at the pet store and the crickets need to be gut-loaded, which means they're being fed a special diet high in vitamins and minerals so they will be of nutritional value to the bearded dragon, because crickets don't have nutritional value. And those blasted crickets are 15 cents each and a young beardie needs six per day and you have to have a container to hold the crickets and you have to buy the special food for the crickets so they'll be nutritionally valuable to the dragon. And the crickets are just a side note for food for the bearded dragon. I have no idea how bearded dragons survive in the wild, eating non-nutritional, disease-laden crickets. If we want one in the house, we'll move to Australia and it can catch it's own food.
My 12 yo is just going to get another Tamagotchi or two, this time with my enthusiastic approval.
(Hats off to those of you keeping bearded dragons and other cool pets like that)
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Once upon a time there was a cat named Zorro the Phantom Bobcat because of the black marking on the right side of her face, and her bobbed tail. Her family called her Bobcat for short. Sometimes they just called her Kitty because she was so small and delicate...
So, our cats are indoor cats. We live on a busy road and we'd lost four cats to that road before we decided to never own cats again. But that vow didn't last so the next cute kittens that came into our house became indoor cats only.
Bobcat came to us three years ago. She was the runt of the litter and full of personality. She liked to go adventuring in the garage (and she's a pretty good mouser, too, leaves them on the steps to the garage--ick!). We ALWAYS make sure the door to the backyard is closed when we let her into the garage. You know where this is going - we let her into the garage at 9 p.m. and I went to let her back into the house at midnight but no Bobcat. The garage door was open. This happened to be a nice spring night for Oregon, no rain. We called and looked until 1 a.m. (we live out in the country, sort of, so we weren't disturbing neighbors), then stayed up listening for her until 2 a.m.. We were scared and heart sick. Not only do we have the Road in front of our house, we also have Owls which could easily snatch our runty Bobcat; and Foxes in the field; Skunks, Racoons, and Dogs live in the vicinity, too. Bobcat would have taken them on more than likely. She acts so big and bossy.
Happy ending though: I saw Bobcat dashing for the garage at 5:20 a.m. (after my nap of three hours). I dashed for the garage too. By the time I got to the backyard door, Bobcat circumvented the junk in the garage and was already in the house. We allowed her to sleep with us...although, I had second thoughts when she tried to bite my toes. Stupid cat.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Don't do a singing telegram at the Oregon state capitol. Apparently the powers that be won't let you come in if you're there to do a singing telegram. A certain representative's birthday was last week and his team wanted to surprise him. We decided on the female pirate to tease the (relatively) young representative. I had my contact make sure latex balloons were allowed in the capitol (our treated balloons stay up for a week or more; it would have been awful had I accidently released one in the rotunda--tempting, but no). As it turns out, the latex balloons could enter the capitol but I couldn't. My contact and a couple of his team members videoed my schtick on the capitol steps. It went well I think. I hope the Representative enjoyed the tiny me singing to him. So remember, the state capitol is too dignified for happy things.
You also have to watch out for banks. I suppose the people in banks have good reason; they have to be alert for suspicious characters. And when doing a singing telegram, we really do look strange. Anyway, my husband recently performed four singing telegrams at banks. Could the people in the banks try harder to avoid looking at him? The people receiving the singing telegrams were laughing but their cohorts acted as if they were very--and I mean, very--busy. To be fair though, the employees of two out of four banks had senses of humor. One branch was inside a grocery store--those employees had a good time, and the other was a regular branch filled with good-natured employees. I may have to take my business there; I like happy people.
Although most restaurants don't have a problem with singing telegrams, be cautious with those that have "atmosphere." Olive Garden once told my husband to be quieter. He was disturbing those around him. Um, yes, that would be the point. And it's not like a singing telegram lasts 20 minutes or longer (3-5 minutes). Of course, I was once doing a singing telegram in the foyer of Olive Garden (Friday night, very crowded) and the employees didn't seem to mind then. Maybe it was too crowded to actually reach me. (And for the record, we love eating at Olive Garden).
Another bad place for singing telegrams is at children's play places, and the singing telegram is for a child. Yes, we have done singing telegrams for kids--it's not the best idea. I did it at a party at a playground. The child and his friends wanted to...PLAY. We did it for a 2-year-old--bad mistake--at a children's museum. The 2-year-old and the little friends cried. They also wanted to go PLAY. (Doing a singing telegram for young children only makes the performer look bad--avoid that. We now do them for 16 and up, only).
That would be the top four places where one should not perform singing telegrams. And there are exceptions to everything, of course. But basically, there you have it.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
We have a young-ish cat who, like most cats, wants attention when she wants attention and not before. For some reason, when any of us are on a computer, that's when she wants attention. Today, I'm trying to rest so I can get well and I bring my computer into my room and set it on a card table. Suddenly the cat is there. She wants to be petted because I'm working on the computer. She didn't seem to notice me when I was reading, no, no, just when the computer came on. She must be a very modern cat, very techno savvy. She's not interested in sitting on the book I'm reading, she wants to sit on the computer I'm using.
The play starts out with the queen and the prince at the ball. I, as the queen, insist that the prince dance with the princesses in attendance and begin bringing up girls from the audience to dance with him. The little girl who kept raising her hand was first, as Princess Elizabeth. There were two more girls chosen to "dance with the prince." None of them cried (sometimes that happens); each of them answered the prince's questions as they danced.
Later, there are three "foreign" princesses chosen from the audience to meet the prince. They meet him one at a time and each time the queen tells them how to answer his questions, so they "won't be nervous." The first one is supposed to say "yes" to every question. In the past, Chris (who plays the prince) almost always has to help the girl remember what she's supposed to answer because the questions are things like "Did your journey tire you?" The little princess wants to say no even though she's been told to say yes. But the first little girl (and she was little) was right on with her yeses. The second princess, a little older than the first, was to always answer "no" and she did it with flying colors. The third princess answers "what do you think?" and she had the audience laughing.
Now there were some boys in the play too. One played the captain of the ship who sailed the servant (Chris again) to get the foreign princesses. From backstage, I heard the captain say, "we're almost to land." Totally improvised. Audience enjoyed it. The messenger who announced the princesses to the prince was also a boy (he had raised his hand to be one of the foreign princesses but Chris passed him over). As the messenger, he did a great job. He spread his arms and announced "Princess ______," whichever princess it was, very loudly. Loved it.
All the kids were just delightful performers. What fun!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
I think I can do it myself. I try, so I can be "thrifty." How hard can it be to replace a few washers so the drips stop? Two trips to the hardware store and six hours later, we call the plumber to finish up (and repair?) what we started. I hate that.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Child-like joy on people's faces is the BEST. When children are mesmerized by a play, believing that the stove where Jack hid is just behind the curtain; when adults are sitting on the edges of their seats waiting to say their lines during a mystery--I get to see the same kind of smiles light up their faces, no matter the age. And those smiles bounce back to me. The difficulty is staying in character when I want to laugh with the audience. I get to laugh later, when the show is over and I'm thanking the children for playing harps, hens, princesses, etc. and the adults for playing Mr. Chips, Miss Fortune, Boone, etc. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.