Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's Magic (Hopefully!)

Night number three of My Fair Lady.

Yes, we are having fun. And yes, it does become work. One doesn't always experience chills and thrills upon entering the dressing room, or donning the costume, or warming up those vocal chords. At some point along the way the charm wears off, the exhilaration of opening night jitters is gone, there are no more notes from the director pushing you forward into finer accomplishment (you are now on your own...) and sheer discipline is required.

So you dutifully brush on the rouge, stretch the muscles, lay out the costumes. You check for that letter taken on in scene 5, making sure it is in place on the prop table. The hair is sprayed one last time, a hat secured on top.

"Places. Five minutes!" is called. You move to your position to wait.

Then the first chord is played. Transformation begins. You become a cockney woman, cold and tired, trying her best to make the most of her meager existence, enjoying the companionship of an old friend, watching the passerby, meddling with neighbors. The show is running once again and you become swept away with the energy, the magic, the joy of story telling in its most intricate form.

A mere cog in this much-larger-than-you piece of story telling machinery, you feel the weight of dependence upon you. It may seem small or insignificant, but those involved all know and appreciate everyone's contribution. The magic won't happen without the successful completion of each duty, each role, each line, each flute ornamentation, each moved set piece, each lighting cue called and obeyed.

Oh, it's a complicated machine, this contraption known as musical theater. But when the wheel starts turning and every cog and gear respond in timely fashion, a magical thing happens. Make believe comes to life. Worlds only existing in thought now take form.

If we're on our game, the audience is swept away with us, off to faraway places and times, meeting new and interesting characters. They will learn to love them, hate them, or simply put up with them. Hopefully when all is said and done, they will have been magically entertained.

The curtain falls one last time. Farewell to Mrs. Pearce and her household.

Hang up the dresses, wash off the wrinkles, and put away the shoes. Stow those t-straps safely in the corner, ready for tomorrow's arrival - when you draw again from sheer discipline. Scales will be sung, makeup sponged one, necklaces arranged. You'll hear the call, "Places. Five minutes!" You take your place and wait once again for the magic to begin.

That is theater.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Life is pleasant -- I am having fun. Currently.
The bittersweet realization that today will be gone when I next awaken resides deep within my heart. And I remember once again:

Passing through. Just passing through.

Relationships may seem so important, but they are either gifts of joy from Him, yielding encouragement, fun, and good times of deep fellowship which will continue forever in a better place, or opportunities for ministry of encouragement, sharing the hope of the gospel, or imparting truth.

Occupations and undertakings bring momentary satisfaction. What is important today is often insignificant tomorrow. A finished project will fade, tarnish. Enjoy it now, for it will not yield the same joy tomorrow.

Hold everything loosely, save Him and the glorious hope of salvation.

Heaven is the true goal, the final destiny, the resting place. I am building now for eternity, not for an abode here. This is broken and finite; that is perfection unending.

I'll remember, I'm only passing through.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big Rocks First

Song is busy cooking Korean potato pizza, and it is being consumed as quickly as it comes out of the pan. Food doesn't last long around here, and I hope this isn't too overwhelming for her. She was just telling me that she was once withdrawn when meeting new people, but since living here she has learned how to interact in a positive way. She is happy about that.

Over the weekend I learned from another one of our 1942 add-ons (that's what we've taken to calling our extra kids these days) that he comes from what is known as a "broken home" and since being around our home he has discovered more of what family life is all about; he told about enjoying the simple but regular morning greeting he was met with each day. Just an ordinary but heartfelt "Good morning -- how are you today?" has meant the world to him.

We are now preparing for the arrival of a new friend who will join us from Germany. Friday is the beginning of his two month American adventure -- and we get to be a part of it. Even as I write, the papa of the house is talking with the big boys of the house to see what arrangements need to be made to best accommodate his stay here. We want him -- and everyone else -- to be as comfortable as possible. But we all know that with so many in one home there will be sacrifice and opportunities for tolerance aplenty. But, oh, how good those lessons are!

As I was washing dishes earlier and Song was cooking I mentioned that I hoped our somewhat motley crew and haphazard approach wouldn't be too undoing for Johannes, explaining that German culture was known for being orderly and disciplined. We haven't exactly attained 5 stars in that area yet this summer. She smiled and said, "But we are still pretty orderly compared to many homes." I felt her pride at sharing our home with someone new. She was thinking of the love shared and the care given to each one. And I felt a measure of success, in spite of our often times of disarray. She felt happy here, was learning to love here, and was experiencing joy here. He has moved in our midst.

I guess even if we have some things to learn that's a pretty good start.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Catch-up Photos From our Fourth of July!

A bit of patriotic porch decor...

Two oldest sisters, and a sweet babe, enjoying the garden they helped create years ago! The fruit of labor seen in time...

An uncle and two nephews have some fun in the pool!

The whole original clan in their red, white, and blue regalia -- a tradition established when they were all little!

What a great time we all had. Thanks for taking a peek into my world!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Within one month on two different occasions, I have been reintroduced to fellow classmates of SUNY Potsdam's Class of 1977. After 30+ years, what is happening?

Last month I was at a rehearsal for a local talent show when the trumpet player, a music teacher at Hermon DeKalb, turned to me and announced, "We were in school together." To make a long story short, he was right! He recognized me when I walked in the room (I could boast here and say that I haven't changed a bit but we all know better. I think the bigness of the smile probably gave it away!) Keith Shult hung around with me and a fellow trumpet player, Mark Giroux, those first few days when we were all trying to figure out what this college thing was all about. Haven't seen him since then. Amazing.

Last night at CPS rehearsal we were running the opening scene. The gentleman who plays my husband in that scene whispered to me, "I heard you say that you know Lisa Vroman -- that you graduated just a couple of years before her. I think we may have been in school together." (Lisa is a professional stage performer. I'm going to see her at the Glimmerglass Opera Theater in Kiss Me Kate later this month!)

What? Another one? After quoting to him my graduation year, he agreed that his class was also the Class of '77. I couldn't resist asking the question, "Did you know Mark Giroux, my friend the trumpet player?" "Know him -- of course I knew him!" "How about my husband, Rick Sinclair?" "Yeah! The bass man!" Amazing.

So I'm having my own private class reunion these days and it's fun, I must admit! It's good to get out a bit now and then -- you just never know who you might meet -- or meet again!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Love Story

Tonight someone very special was proposed to... and she said, "Yes!"

The evening was one of romance and celebration. Carina's fiance' requested a candlelight dinner served privately on our side porch. Much strategizing was needed to pull this off. After all, this is a busy household. Everyone was on board to make it as special as possible.

Starting at mid-afternoon, all hands got busy with cleaning, ironing, and setting up. In no time we had transformed an ordinary side porch to a romantic niche full of flowers and candlelight (although the relatively early dinner hour -- 6:00 pm -- certainly did not allow for the full ambiance which they would have otherwise provided.)

The plan was to feed our large crew and clear the kitchen/dining area by 5:30 or so. Danica prepared egg noodles with cheese and they quickly set to consuming the casserole full of food. Soon, with precision and great command, she announced that they had three minutes left to finish, clear the table, and evacuate the area. They were banished to the family room for a viewing of Mr. Deeds. (Glad it wasn't me -- I don't like that movie at all...)

Carina and Rick were ushered into their private dining spot, Dad began grilling and Mom began serving. Salad, sparkling grape juice, marinated steak, grilled asparagus spears, marinated green beans and red peppers, and ginger-garlic rice comprised the evening's menu. It was delightful to be such a special part of their night.

At 7:30 pm they emerged, smiling and happy; he asked, she said yes. Perfect!

Within minutes a sister from down the street piled through the front door with her little family. Rick's family and friends arrived shortly after, bearing tubs of strawberries and platters of shortcakes. In short, they brought dessert. We set up the table and celebrated with this happy couple, because we were almost as happy as they! How wonderful to be sharing such a significant event, celebrating their joy, and supporting their decision. We were all blessed!

For a photo journal of tonight's Love Story, head over here! (Because it is late and I am working on this alone, it seems to be out of order on the link. Start at the bottom and work up if you want to make chronological sense of it! Sorry!)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Play Dates For the Aged

Play times have begun -- literally.

Rehearsals are underway for the CPS production of My Fair Lady. My daughter, Louissa, and I are joining in the fun. The times of choreography and choral practice have been both fun and frustrating, full of compliments and criticism, laced with good-will and grumpiness. The directors provide the latter, everyone takes turns sharing the second items on my list, and I take responsibility for the first. Got that?

The fun is obvious (if you know me, that is.) I love song and dance and acting and make-believe. In fact, I attend all of Louissa's rehearsals as well as my own just because I want to learn the dances. The frustration comes from the sure revelation that I do not learn this stuff as quickly as I once did, the realization that my voice is not as strong anymore, and experiencing first hand that this body just isn't moving as well these days. Huh. Really frustrating at times. Downright discouraging actually. But...

... my attendance at all those extra rehearsals of Louissa's paid off last night when they needed a replacement for an ensemble. Guess who was ready and knew all the staging! You got it! So now I am not only Mrs. Pearce, the stuffy old housekeeper, but I will also play an uppity-high society type as well in the Ascot Opening Race scene. This scene is fun with no frustration at all. It is slow moving and easy for even this ol' girl to keep up with!

So pardon me while I busy myself with a hobby that is an absolute favorite -- well, maybe absolute, because there are always gardening, shopping, decorating, and travel; I may be a bit absent here for days on end as the NY director arrives next week and staging rehearsals for Mrs. Pearce keep me hopping. They will run all day as well as evenings for a good long time. I will try to develop a good thought or two to share with you every now and then just to assure you that I have not been raptured (leaving all of you behind?) or died prematurely (at least prematurely in my humble estimation), nor have I run off to some distant land (are you kidding? and miss these fabulous rehearsals?!!)

I'm just inordinately busy playing these days.