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June 2009 entries

Hey, I think I know you . . .

It's nice to be back with my family now that Cinderella is over . . . especially with my husband, who made it all "possible" by agreeing to do far more than his share of childrearing over the past three weeks or so. Now we have this week together before I leave on Sunday for an AP Conference in Baltimore.  Phew.  Whirlwind summer.  I love you, sweetheart! 


This was obviously (I hope!) post-show -- I haven't taken to wearing the purple feathers and heavy makeup on a daily basis, thank goodness!

Special Thanks

Thank you to Miss Hopkins, my friend and fan (haha -- I sound so important!) for the many special gifts including flowers, a letter to the editor of the newspaper about the Cinderella performance, cookies for the cast and countless other gifts and well-wishes as I participated in my first musical. 


A Hidden Gem

Today, the kids and I traveled with Grandma Tina and Pappy Myers to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park in Halifax, PA.  It took about an hour and a half to get there.  I had no idea this place even existed despite this being their 45th season. . . and in fact, we saw absolutely no signs advertising it until we arrived at Tobias Road.  Aunt Michelle and Uncle Adam concocted the trip -- we met them and members of Adam's family there for the day.  Unfortunately, Mike is taking a woodwind methods class this summer and wasn't able to make today's trip because of a lesson.  He was sent many, many picture messages via cell phone (thank heavens for Verizon IN-messaging, right?) and we've promised a return trip so he can experience it first-hand.  It was also the most reasonably priced park I've been to in a long time -- $4 to get in for over 3 years old.  And the concessions and gift shop had average prices, too.

The park is 150-acres of various wildlife -- lions, tigers, and bears . . . oh my!  And deer, bison, baboons, tortises, llamas, the list goes on and on.  There is also a safari ride ($5) in essentially a converted school bus -- picture a bus with the entire top cut off -- during which we could get very close to and feed various animals.  This is a zonkey -- part zebra, part donkey.  Like mules, they are sterile.  The park didn't breed these -- they keep their donkeys and zebras separate.

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Gabrielle's favorite was the petting zoo -- she walked around fearlessly, petting the goats, minature horses, and llamas like she does it every day of her life.  She gently scolded a baby goat when it started to eat her shirt sleeve: "No, baby.  That's not food, that's my shirt!" 

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I think my favorite animal was the ostrich, which came with a warning label.  

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Staying Humble

At Lourdes, we have recently convinced a talented father of six children to cantor for mass on a sporadic basis.  He was the music director of his parish before he moved here a few years ago, and the aforementioned six kids prevent him and his wife (a lovely soprano) from being involved in the music ministry on a regular basis.  When he does cantor for me (I play the organ when needed) he shows up a few minutes before Mass, I say, "Are we OK?"  and he replies, "Yup!"  and we go to town.  It usually works great.

This week, however . . .

When he announced the wrong opening hymn, I suspected something was awry.  I played the hymn that was on the schedule, the hymn whose number was on the board for the congregation to see, and he quickly caught on.  I thought, "OK.  We are good."  Then I played the introduction to the responsorial psalm and he sang the wrong words to the right tune.  I sang loudly from the organ, hoping he'd catch on before the verses.  I looked down to see him frantically flipping pages in the psalm book to find the right date.  And phew.  We were back on track. 

After the Gospel Acclamation, I went downstairs to talk to him.  I wrote down the numbers of the next 2 hymns and gave them to him, teasing,"These are the hymns I'm going to play.  Perhaps you'd like to sing them with me. "  He chuckled and said, "I'm so sorry.  I don't know what's going on."  I replied, "Well, you appear to be on the wrong week."  To assure him that I didn't mind, I told him, "It's just God keeping you humble.  Cantoring does that to you, you know.  Just when you think you're getting good, God knocks you down a peg or two."  The rest of the Mass went fine.

As I returned to the loft, I thought about my early cantoring experience with a very talented yet impatient organist.  I wasn't Catholic at the time and was just learning the Mass.  I was 19 years old and he would give me an entire legal page full of notes on how to improve for the next Mass (in an hour) and if I made a mistake like announce the wrong hymn, he would yell at me for my incompetence.  I remember one time, I overslept because a storm reset my alarm.  Our priest was concerned about my well being and wasn't upset at all that I was late (I missed the opening hymn).  The music director on the other hand, was furious and didn't speak to me until the end of the second Mass because it was "humiliating" for him to have to announce the opening hymn from the organ. 

It's a wonder I stayed at Lourdes, really.  But I am from what I call the "don't sweat the small stuff generation".  I don't mean to say that little things don't matter or that I don't have a standard of quality.  It is just that I realize that the world did not come crashing to a halt when the cantor announced the wrong hymn.  I was actually pleased that I was able to recover in a calm way -- two years ago, I would have fallen apart at my new instrument.   And I was pleased that the cantor was able to find his way, despite the immense distance between cantor and organ.  It's difficult to communicate, for sure.  

There is a certain risk of failure that comes along with live music, live theatre, any kind of live performance.  And it certainly isn't worth having an aneurysm over if something does go wrong.  I usually just offer up gratitude to God for keeping my pride in check.  Sometimes, that's all we can do, really.

Thank you . . . for playing a trick on me

While our young chorus may have forgotten about poor Prince Chris, he certainly has a heart of gold.  At our last performance, the King decided to be devious and hide Zack's water bottle.  When Zack returned to the place he thought he left his bottle, he was bemused and began searching high and low.  Of course, the King and I watched this with hilarity. 

Finally, the King gave in and told Zack where to find his water.  Always thinking the best of others, Zack actually THANKED Eugene for showing him the water.  Trying not to laugh out loud (there was a show going on, after all), I told Zack, "Don't THANK him!! He's the one who hid it!" 

Playing tricks on the sweet and naive never gets old, does it?

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery

On Sunday, right before our matinee, some members of the young chorus of Cinderella showed me a video that they shot the day before.  It featured two of the 13-year-old singers reenacting the scene between the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella -- the transformation of Cindy from a "plain country bumpkin" to a princess fit to attend the ball. 

The video was hilarious -- the girl playing me mimicked my accent and mannerisms and they had a special lighting effect (thanks to the wand that they bought at the show) for the transformation.  But not to be complete copycats of the show, they devised a "twisted" ending (they called the show Twisted Cinderella) in which Cinderella ran off with the Footman because when she saw him, she was overwhelmed by his handsome demeanor (and his wig, no doubt) and forgot totally about the prince. 

Christopher Rupert who??

The Conspiracy Continues

As you may recall, in May Aidan and Gabrielle both asked for a baby on the same day.  I have a theory -- they have figured out that the only way for kids to overrule parents is to out-number them.   We're even right now, 2 to 2, but if we have another baby, the kids will have the majority. 

Well, the conspiracy continues.  On Sunday, Gabrielle and I were walking down the aisle at Lourdes when she saw a baby on his way to his baptism.  She put on her most convincing pouty face and said, "Mommy, I am soooo sad."  "Why, sweetie?  What's wrong?" her concerned mother asked. 

"Look over there.  A baby," she sniffed.

"Isn't he adorable?"  I asked brightly.

"Yes, and I want a baby, too," Gabrielle replied on the verge of tears. 

The parents of said newborn were passing by at this moment, and they laughed.  Ahhh, wait until your youngster is trying to stage a coup, new parents!  You won't be laughing then!

Shhh! I have a secret . . .

Yesterday morning, Gabrielle said to me in a hushed whisper, "Mom!  I have a secret, come here."  I did as instructed, and she pulled me close to her:  "I have a secret and you can't tell anyone.  Promise?"  I promised.  I asked, "What's your secret?"  She replied, "I'm going to huff and puff and blow the house down!"

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Cast Party

After the show, we had a cast party at the Loyalsock James Short Park.  It was pouring buckets, but that didn't keep Aidan and Gabielle (and Michael!) from the slides and swings.  We had a great time.

We presented a board that was signed by the cast to our director and much to my surprise, the cast thanked me for doing hair and helping out by giving me a gift card to Borders Books.  Isn't that incredibly sweet?  In honor of the infamous Ray of Light award buckled in the car, I took this picture: