Wednesday, January 29, 2014



It's true. For two weeks I have been computer less, which means, having less than a computer. It's a long story...well, it's not really. First, my ten year old spilled lemonade on my keyboard and failed to tell me until it was too late. I remember saying something like, "Why is this computer going crazy and making a funny gurgling sound!" Dead. Then, a month later, while using the kids' computer  I hurriedly picked it up to take into the other room and failed to notice that it was still plugged in. The plug and I played tugawar and the plug won. The computer fell out of my arms and onto the hardwood kitchen floor. I lay over it like a long beloved kitten that I accidentally might have run over, hoping that with love and the proper amount of CPR I could bring it back to life. The cat was an obvious goner, but the computer seemed to have some life in it as it sputtered and churned trying to come back to life. But in the end it too lay cold and lifeless like Shadow, the mouse killing champion.

Two computers down in one month. Their warranties have long since expired, as have their lives. Just to get the hard drive is going to cost 250. The computer is eight years old. I'll be lucky to get the hard drive copied off let alone have the repair guys bring it back to life for another two hundred to five hundred dollars. Might as well bury it next to Shadow in the backyard.

Now I have no computer. I don't know what to do. I should go get a job because there is no way I am just going to clean all day long. No sir, not me. I keep the house tidy, but I am not a maid. (my family hears this quite often, usually with a raised voice and shoes and socks flying in different directions.)

cleanhouse.jpg Before I wrote, I took care of little babies. My own. Then I discovered writing and my kids grew older and I've never looked back. And my babies grew bigger and went off to school. But this new life of no computer and no babies is empty and wrong and boring. And I never get bored. I wander from room to room with no purpose.  Of course, I could clean closets or under beds, or get on my hands and knees and scrub the kitchen floor, but then what? What's my reward? A clean house? I know that is what some people get off on, but me...not so much. I like a clean house, but I like to do other things as well. And as soon as the kids get home it will be dirty again and I'll be playing chauffeur and then where is my creative me time? I feel like falling on the floor and kicking and screaming and throwing a down right pity party. But I won't because I am a grown up. Instead, I will pull out the ice cream and have a spoonful...or three.

I have a rule about the TV never being on during the day, but I've broken it at least three times in the last week as I find myself curled up in a blanket watching a movie at 11:30 in the morning. Okay, I don't just find myself there like I was knocked unconscious or something. Let's be honest, I purposefully put myself there, but sometimes I wonder how it happened. Maybe I'm sleep walking. And the ice cream! Heaven help me with the needless calories!!!

I've come to the conclusion that no matter what the bank account says, and being January I can tell you it says, "Don't even think about it" I must get a computer. I was waiting until I could get the, you know, the big one, the creme de la creme of computers, but at this point I am ready to go down to the local electronics store and buy the cheapest version they have. I'll go back for the big guy later...when my ship comes in or I row out to it. I gotta do something and soon. I started watching the midwives series on Netflix. Now I'll never get anything done, except gather a second chin and cry my eyes out all day. Not productive. Not any way to live my life.

Any suggestions regarding a cheap good computer?

Monday, January 13, 2014

My life is a comedy act waiting to be discovered.

I promised to give you the comedy details of my first week at rehearsals and I always keep my promises so let's cut out the fat and get to the pudding.

 Let's start with day One:

Let's  title this, "You can call me Lucille Ball."

When I went to our initial meeting I was given a script, but no folder to put the loose papers in. The day of my first real practice I grabbed a used, but empty folder from the cupboard and stuffed the papers in the side pockets thinking that later (I'm always thinking later), I'll punch holes and put it in a better binder...or something. I'd also been advised to bring something to record with to the musical practices. I thought I would use my phone, though I don't actually know how to do that, so trying to think ahead I had a plan b. I asked my son to go find that tape recorder they play with sometimes. Yes, you heard right. I said TAPE RECORDER. Just in case you don't know what that is here is a definition, at least about the tape cassette.

Noun1.cassette tape - a cassette that contains magnetic tapecassette tape - a cassette that contains magnetic tape
cassette - a container that holds a magnetic tape used for recording or playing sound or video
mag tapemagnetic tapetape - memory device consisting of a long thin plastic strip coated with iron oxide; used to record audio or video signals or to store computer information; "he took along a dozen tapes to record the interview"

I don't know where this thing came from, but it has been floating around our house for at least a couple years. It doesn't work so well, but I am a tape recorder fix-a-lot-er so there was no worries. Back in the day I removed more jammed Madonna tapes from my car tape deck than you could La isla Bonita with the material girl herself in a year. Rewind button broken? No problem. Turn it over to the other side and fast-forward a ways, then flip it back over and walla, your back to the beginning of Glenn Medeiros Nothing's Gonna Change My Love for You
Won't record? Hold the tape down half way. Or how about twisted ribbon on the wheel, or what to do when your little baby or brother has taken to the tape ribbon like it was some kind of pull string toy and left it in a heap like cow dung on the living room floor. Pencils come in handy then. And if you ever wondered why I had one of my moms kitchen knives in my car, well, they came in handy when I couldn't get that tape out of the deck.

I'm getting off topic. Let me reign myself back in...but while I type I think I'll listen to Madonna's, Like a prayer to keep with the nun theme. Sort of.

So I get there. I look around and see that OTHER people have put a bit more thought into their folders. Several have had their scripts professionally bound. What a good idea. And those that didn't bind them had carefully placed them in sheet protectors and organized them by scene, tabbed and color coded in nice three ring binders.Perhaps it was just my pride that made it difficult to pull out my sons old folder with Science scribbled in seventh grade penmanship across the front, but this really set me back. I was quite embarrassed and wanted to hide all my stuff under my coat which was suddenly sitting on my lap.

When the director asked us to go to scene two, I shifted through my papers and pulled them out only to have three or four extras grab hold and go floating all over the floor. While everyone else spoke their lines, I crawled on hands and knees after runaway scenes three and four that had scattered under chairs and under foot. When I caught those  little naughty papers I spent the next little while trying to get them back in order. When pages are printed front and back I get easily confused. I was lost half the time. When she told me to counter cross and I looked at her blankly, it wasn't just because I wasn't sure what that meant, but also I was on the wrong page. Again. Still.

Then it was time to go over the music. Wait a minute. Where was my music? Oh yeah. They sent it in an email and I hadn't printed it off yet as I was feeling lazy...I mean, I was thinking I would use my phone and just look at the music from the actual attachment. See how environmentally friendly I can be? I reached into my bag to pull my phone out. No phone. I searched my coat pockets. No phone. Crap! Where is my phone? I realized eventually that I'd left it at home. Something I never do, but in my haste had done.

So I had no music and no phone. Everyone around me used their color coded tabs to find the right song. Wanting to look professional I shuffled some more papers around. Actually, I didn't have to pretend. My pages were so messed up I had Maria and the Captain professing their love on one page and on the next page he was blowing his whistle at her as he introduced her to the children. Finally I confessed to the girl next to me that I didn't have any music with me and could I share with her? She was nice enough to share, but I could tell that her binder felt too heavy for her to hold out to me, and she was sniffing and wiping her nose constantly which made me a little worried I would catch whatever she had, but I didn't want to seem ungrateful, so eventually, to spread the love, I began looking at another person's well-organized binder to give her a break.

Now here comes the best part. The director instructed us to pull out our recording devices "now." Wanting to be obedient I complied quickly, pulling out my ancient looking tape recorder only one step up from my kids old Fisher Price Recorder, (man I had fun with that toy). I mean my kids had fun with that toy. I looked around and realized that EVERYONE else was using their fancy dancy iphones. And then there was Becky with her 1990 (maybe, could be older) big black monstrous looking tape recorder taking up her whole lap like a big black metal box of shame.

"Record now!" She said. Just as I pushed on the record and play button the room became eerily silent. The tape made a sickening screechy sound that echoed throughout the room and caught too many peoples attention. It kind of sounded like the tape was being massacred. Almost as horrible as fingernails on a chalkboard.

Side note. Did you know that there are kids out there that don't know what that sounds like? True story. They have white boards at schools nowadays. The idea of fingernails scraping a chalkboard doesn't leave my kids squirming. They just stare at me with blank faces, like, "Yeah? That's the best you got?"

I'm getting old.

I hid my giant recording device under my collection of loose papers. I didn't want anyone to see it. It refused to record of course, so I  had to hold the play/record button down midway the whole time which left me with no free hands and a very red face. I got through it though and the minute we finished I shoved that black contraption into my very large handbag and swore that no amount of wanting to please the director would convince me to use that ever again.

The rest of practice went quite well. I was surrounded by amazing singers. I left feeling so excited to be a part of such a talented cast and I was reminded how much I love this kind of thing and even told a lady as we exited the building how excited I was. She smiled politely at me. She probably remembered me as being the unprepared one. Then I went right to the store and bought a new binder and two packages of sheet protectors. Haven't tabbed it yet, but I think it's a good idea. Then I printed off all my music.

I may not have made a great first impression, but I'm determined to be the black horse in this little production. Or maybe the blue horse, or red. I like red as well.

*In case you are wondering, I tried to listen to the recording of the nuns songs on my recorder. It didn't work so well. It was too slow, too fast, muffled, (probably because I was hiding it under my papers),  horrible and made my kids laugh. Made me laugh too. Then I had my son show me how to record on my phone. No more looking like a fool Mr. T. Or  rather, Mrs. B.

Friday, January 10, 2014

THIRD TIMES A CHARM and other auditioning wisdom.

For the past twenty years my time at home verses time away from home has been about a 95/5% ratio. In the past ten years it has become more like 85/15%. My days are as follows: I get up, get kids off, or at least say goodbye to the early birds, go to the gym, come home, do the breakfast thing, do the get ready for the day thing, check facebook thing, do a chore thing and then settle down for some writing or reading. 

Occasionally, I audition for a movie or a play or a commercial, but this is only occasionally. Occasionally, I actually get a call back or a part in a short film or a commercial , but this is occasionally. Occasionally I take an acting class that runs for a few weeks or so. 

Most of the time I am home when my kids get home. Most of the time I get them to their activities. Most of the time I make dinner, I try to get people to help me clean up. I try to help with homework, but my older kids know they should go right to dad. I usually am home to put people to bed or at least beg and plead that they please go to bed so that I can. That's about the gist of it. It's not that exciting.  And this is the way I have chosen to live my life. But as my kids grow older, the opportunity to do something for myself has grown as well. So a few years ago I decided that maybe I'd audition for a play. It didn't go so well...

...Let me start this off by saying that I love the theater. I used to be in lots of plays. Then I decided I wasn't good enough and changed my major to something I was even less gifted in. How I wish I could do college over. Then I got married. Then I had a baby. Then we moved to another state. Then I got the acting bug again. I got professional headshots and tried out for a play and even made callbacks, but didn't get a part. I was also pregnant with my second child. With one car and no family to help out, I realized it would put a strain on my young family so I put acting on a very back burner. Then we moved. Then we had another child. We moved again. Then I had another child. Then I got the bug again. 

If you're counting you'll know we now had four kids. While we were within a days drive, we were still not close to family. However, we did have two cars and my eight year old was pretty mature for his age so he was almost old enough to babysit so the possibility of doing some sort of local theater was opening up. (kidding about the eight year old thing.)

So I auditioned for the community play. It was Annie. I didn't have a lead, but I did have a few lines and I learned to tap dance. With four kids, the youngest being a year old and the oldest being eight, it felt great to do something other than change diapers and do dishes all day.  The next year I auditioned again and got the part of tap dancer. I could see I was becoming "tap" casted, so I turned them down and decided to take the summer off.

Then I had another child. Then we moved. Then we lived in the country where there weren't any theaters nearby and I didn't even know where to begin. I'm pretty content to stay home and I felt pretty busy with my now large family so I didn't think too much about acting. Then I learned that I loved to write and was okay with not acting. Then we moved again, back to the city where volunteer musical theater is like a profession for some people. (They take their theater seriously here). The bug to act came back in full force. I started taking acting lessons and auditioned for a few bit parts in films, but I still longed to be on the stage. 

Eventually, I looked up auditions at different local theaters. I'm so unsure of myself that even putting my foot out there that much felt like a stretch. I let several pass me by before gathering the courage to audition for Scarlet Pimpernel. I was so nervous, but after I did it I really felt great and I walked out of the theater flying high, sure I would get a call back.  At the time I said I would only accept a  major role and I might have also added I had a few calender conflicts.  I mean, I will only accept a lead even though it had been nearly twenty years since I'd had a lead? Delusions of grandeur.

 I didn't get a call back.

I licked my wounds and worked up the courage to audition again about six months later, this time for The Secret Garden. This time I said I would accept any role and I didn't say I had any conflicts. I just wanted to be in a  play! But I made one fatal flaw. One I realized too late. I noticed that no one had sung anything from that play. I began to connect the dots. "Maybe you aren't supposed to sing a song from the play for which you are auditioning. After all, they might get tired of hearing 100 versions of How could I ever know. I panicked. I had prepared that song from The Secret Garden! I asked a girl if I could look at her music book so I could pick another song. My fingers fumbled clumsily over her huge selection of music. I could hardly think straight. I realized that I wouldn't know the words and I'd be a wreck. I gave it back to her and stewed about what to do. When they called my name I profusely apologized for preparing a song from the very play I was trying out for. I'm sure my face was bright red as they all looked at me with sympathetic, yet unimpressed faces. I sang the song, but knew I probably wouldn't get a call back. 

 I didn't get a call back.  

So I waited another year to gather the courage and try again. Third times a charm. And I wasn't going to make the same mistakes I had made in the past. 

So last month I decided to audition for The Sound of Music.  I didn't want to screw anything up this time. I made a plan and checked it twice: I prepared a song in the style of the play, but not from the play. CHECK.  I had no conflicts and I said I would accept ANY role. CHECK.  I almost wrote at the bottom, "Please, please, please have mercy and let me be in your play." I restrained myself. I dressed like a modern Maria, wearing a skirt and blouse and high boots. I probably should have put my hair up in a bun, but I didn't. (kicking myself for that one). Feeling confident, I invited my two daughters to audition with me. We practised their songs each day and I helped them learn how to audition. The day of, I picked them up from school and brought them a change of clothes so we would be on time. We stopped at daughters vocal coach's house for a quick lesson. She gave me a few pointers as well. CHECK. Time to go. Things were working like clock work. We arrived ten minutes early. CHECK.  I was so proud of my master planning. Three of us ready to go conquer the stage! 

We get out of the car. I ask daughter where the music is....we search the vehicle, my bag, under the seats...twice. NO MUSIC! I begin to panic. Five minutes till go time and we have no music. Well, I have mine, but my daughters don't have theirs. She left it at the vocal coach's house! AGH!!! I make a frantic call to my son who makes a frantic call to my husband who makes a frantic stop at the vocal coach's house. We  work like a chain passing the music from one to the next and finally to me as I race back to Kaysville to meet them at the freeway entrance.

I get back to the theater. Now I am nowhere near calm. A flustered knot of nerves is more like it. My girls are nervous wrecks. Everything I taught them flies out the window in their new found fear. However, we get through it with smiles, but secretly I am doubtful any of us will hear back. I go home feeling totally dejected while at the same time trying  not to be angry at or blame my daughter for messing up my perfectly planned audition. After all, it could have easily been me. I once went to an audition for a commercial and forgot my resume. Huge no-no! By the time I got back I was an hour late. No I didn't get that one either. Anyway, moving on to a happier side of the story....

While my two lovely daughters did not get  call backs, (after all, this was their first audition and Ellie still has braces and nobody wore braces in Austria 1939), I did get a call back, and better yet? I actually got a part in the play! I will be playing Sister Margaretta. And I am thrilled. Thrilled!

As happy as I am to have a part in this play, my absence from theater has been more than evident this last week as rehearsals have begun. More on that in my next blog. But I may have just earned myself the nickname, "Comedy Margaretta".

More to come...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson (Lyrics Music Video) Kinetic Typography

Resolution Party going on right now

It's that time of year for the left part of my person, or is it right? Yes, maybe it is the right portion of my brain, (see, I'm so unfamiliar with it I don't even know where it resides--or shall I say hides out-- most of the year) to come out and play.

  1. 1.
    a firm decision to do or not to do something.
    "she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more"

  2. 2.  the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
  3. "the peaceful resolution of all disputes"
    synonyms:solution to, answer to, end to, ending to, settlement of, conclusion to


If you were to dissect Becky into words you'd find a plethora-- and yes I do know what that word means-- of words like, flighty, romantic, unsure, insecure, hopeful, loyal, etc etc. There would only be bits of  dignified ones like: plan, decision, action, aim, firm, etc, etc scattered about like discarded flakes of salt. While I love all of those qualities in other people I just don't have it running thick through my blood. A post about that will follow shortly.

However, come January first,  a shot, and I mean it truly feels like a shot of adrenaline, bursts through my veins just as the last box of Christmas is put away. I feel a resolution to change. Gone are the cut corners, I don't think I'll go to the gym today and yes I will eat that third cookie that is  taunting me from the kitchen, Becky. Gone is the girl who can't decide what curtains to put in the windows. And gone is the girl that has no idea at three o'clock in the afternoon what to make for dinner. Not even a clue. That girl is no more! Pinterest comes alive,  ideas pile up on my boards. Meal plans abound. Curtain ideas are plentiful. "How to be organized, How to teach your kids responsibility, How to keep on top of the clutter, How to be more thankful, How to live on a budget, how to establish rules, how to spend quality time with your spouse, all become feats I am determined to conquer. I am woman and hear me roar!!! 

I go like gangbusters through the house tearing apart closets, drawers, moving furniture, cleaning old dusty bookshelves that haven't seen  the likes of a duster in six months with the determination and positive attitude of Mary Poppins. Lego pieces long abandoned on the floor, that only a week before I had consciously, or unconsciously stepped over, are picked up and put away or thrown away, (I mean seriously, how many Lego pieces does one really need? And yes, I did throw that tire away. I don't know what Lego set it went to, but they will have to live with one less tire on their spacecraft-- I'm sure they'll be fine) and whatever else lay in my path. I'm like a tornado on speed (which is worse than a regular tornado, of course),  and man does it feel good. 

Unfortunately, as the case usually is, you never know when my adrenaline-d junky self will go from 100 to 0. I can be in the middle of a closet, clothes laid out in piles of "Too small", "Too big,", "How the heck did this get in here?" and "Not even the DI would take this," and suddenly a light goes out inside me. Turn off the power to the Death Star, Becky is so over this.

"Okay, I think I'm done. Is that a cookie calling my name from the kitchen? And where is that book I got for Christmas? I haven't even opened it yet"

The clothing is often shoved back where it came from until the urge to clean strikes once again around spring.

Of course, I'd like to say I was joking about all that, but unfortunately, as was the case yesterday in my son's closet, "it" happens.  I justify my lost interest by deciding that this organization party can wait until next week, or until warmer weather hits, like, say... June

But before you think all is lost, that is, Becky is a lost cause, which might very well be true, you should see my family room. It looks awesome! Last night I sat on my new sofa and stared at the cleanliness and simplicity of a streamlined space for like a half hour all alone. It was a thing of beauty. And then I ate a piece of pumpkin pie.* At eleven o'clock at night. 

*The healthy living Becky will come out tomorrow, because after all, tomorrow is another day!

So, what kind of person are you? A deep cleaner every three months like me, or keep things neat and tidy by putting the house to bed every night like I think I will be but never am. Frowny face.

Enjoy the videos. I especially like Kelly Clarkson's song called "People like us". Sadly, I couldn't find a video, but this way you can sing along with the words. Sort of like Blogger Karaoke.

Happy Resolutions making and then keeping.