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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sub-Lyme news

I received notification in the mail today that Barry the tick was found to be negative for Lyme disease bacteria! Still, screw him for biting me. Death to all ticks.

I have some nice news on the job front, too: seems I will be playing Ophelia in Philly next year. Stay tuned for more on that. I am incredibly excited but also a little pensive because the last time I played Ophelia, one of my dads died.

If you visit this blog regularly and possess the ability to read, you are aware that I have been experiencing some personal turbulence these past few months. Hopefully that is clearing up. There's a lot of hope going on. It's intense, but also kind of beautiful.

Friday, July 25, 2008

sky sky sky sky sky sky sky

On another note: Explosions in the Sky ... Lights in the Sky ... Skyhooks ... the universe is evidently trying to tell me something! No idea what. Look up?

I feel really awful tonight, so that may well be it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Paging theninhotline

I have lately been getting multiple e-mails per day asking for this, so here it is.

Lights in the Sky (Sibelius file - readable for free with Scorch)
Lights in the Sky (PDF)

I have no idea how to access the Hotline anymore, since the interface changed and nobody has let me know what to do. So I guess I'll just point everyone who's been asking to this blog entry until someone uploads the files to the site and posts a news article.

[Edit] Situation with the Hotline resolved; sheet music for Lights in the Sky is now available here on Know the Score.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Another sketch

Ain't got a model, so I have to keep drawing myself.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

That I, one Snout by name, present a wall.

FIRST -- BEFORE PICS. Here is the wall when we bought the house -- it's the wall in the back, through the arch, covered in plaster, awful wallpaper, and (shudder) baby blue trim.

Here is the wall after the plaster had been chipped away. As I said in my last post, it was like this for months.

Here is the wall now:

And with the dining set moved out of the way:

I still obviously need to prime and paint the trim, and I need baseboard and crown molding (which I can't put up until I've sorted out threading another wire into that light switch). But there it is. Got me some pride.

The Wall

To help me get through what has been, to put it mildly, a trying time, I am focusing a lot of my energy on a wall. Months and months ago, Matt and I (with help from Chris and Stefania) exposed a brick wall in our house by painstakingly chiseling away hundreds of pounds of dilapidated horsehair plaster. The bricks were never meant to be seen -- they were chipped and broken and covered in plaster dust, and century-old mortar oozed all over them -- but an exposed brick wall was tantalizing. There's a beautiful exposed brick wall at National Mechanics, for instance. But gee, it seemed like such a lot of work. I often wondered if it would be easier to just paint over it, though that would ruin the effect of the natural brick. Months and months passed.

In the last week, though, I took it on as a kind of therapeutic project. And gee (again), were we ever right about it being a lot of work. I chipped all the extruded mortar away by hand. I painstakingly sanded each brick until it was clear of plaster and cement remnants, covering the interior of my house in dust and probably giving myself cancer in the process. I grouted until my fingers were raw from pushing slop between sharp brick edges. I brushed sealant on the cracked surfaces like a hermit painting delicate watercolors. It has been a labor of love and devotion. Every time I felt overwhelmed, I forced myself to get up and work on the wall. The nervous shake in my fingers and arms became the somewhat more bearable tremor of fatigue. Sometimes working on the wall took the place of eating and sleeping properly (like tonight).

The wall drove me crazy; the wall kept me sane. I told the wall secrets and listened for a response. I made bargains with the wall, convincing myself that it was a kind of talisman that would bring me luck. My mind filled with metaphors about stripping away facades and repairing the substance beneath until it was beautiful.

It's nearing completion, and I think it is going to be beautiful. Not perfect, and it won't solve any of my problems, but beautiful. Tomorrow, if the last of the grout dries properly, I'll finish sealing and put up the trim around the two doorways through it, and then I'll show you pictures. I'm afraid, though, the way I get when I'm nearing the end of a good book. What will I do when my friend the wall doesn't need me anymore?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Tell-Tale Heart

Cheesy sketches a la 1995/1996. Call it getting back to my roots, or something. Don't worry, my tongue is jammed with great gusto into my cheek.

Speaking of heart-rending (and at all not of really terrible art), wowwwwwww, everyone should come to see this play I'm reading. Especially anyone in the least bit familiar with my current situation, which is about seven people in the world, most of whom won't attend, but nevertheless. Not only is it a great play, in the tradition of great plays that leave you devastated and unable to speak afterward, but it speaks to my life and my family's life, past and present, in a frightening way. Sections of the revised script were actually uttered by me, in real life, about a week and a half ago. I almost want to start wearing a tinfoil hat to rehearsal in case the playwright is reading my mind. It's kind of like when a good friend of mine was in Spring Awakening. Although, on second thought, maybe nothing could be that intense. But it's bad. In a good way. It's like therapy every day. For pay!

Friday, July 18, 2008

O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!

It's the stuff of nightmares. Well, my nightmares. An hour ago in rehearsal, I was stroking my arm (weird habit during reading rehearsals), when my fingers brushed over something that felt like a piece of grit.

I brushed a little harder, but it didn't fall off.

I looked down. Was it a flea? It was about the size of a small flea. I grabbed it quickly between two fingernails, and was surprised to find I had to pull it out of my skin with a little "pop." I brought it close to my face to take a good look.

That right there is a deer tick, and the one I pulled out of my arm was the first I've seen in person. I am pretty sure he's a boy, and I am naming him Barry. I had the presence of mind to hold onto Barry after making sure he was dead, and I stuck him on the back of a price label peeled off a water bottle until I could secure him properly between strips of plastic during a suitable break in rehearsal.

Luckily for me (not so much for him), my good friend Clark has been going through Lyme disease hell for a couple of months, which has been very educational (and heartbreaking, but he's getting better). Following his instructions, on Monday I'm going to a Lyme literate doctor for a course of doxycycline, because I just called my usual doctor's office; they don't seem to have a clue, and it doesn't sound like it would be easy to convince them of the benefits of getting one. I also found a lab in Jersey who will test a tick for Lyme for $60 (again, after being told by my regular doctor's office that there was no way to test a tick for Lyme). I am sending Barry away to the lab today. I won't miss him, but I hope he gets there safely.

I hope I'm being overly cautious. The last thing I need is Lyme disease. Though, oddly enough, I kind of enjoyed the burst of activity this scare has brought; it's better than the self-pitying drunken moping I've been indulging in lately, or the bouts of constructive self-harm.

(Constructive self-harm is when you, for instance, work on your house with your hands so hard and for such long stretches that it still hurts to type twenty-four hours later. But the house! I made such progress!)

I really need that "illness" tag, don't I?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Explosions in the Sky

Tonight I started listening to this band because I had Friday Night Lights playing in the background while I worked on the house all day, and I liked the music more than anything else. Sounds like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It's the first music in weeks (months?) I've been able to listen to and ... enjoy may not be the write word. It gives me a kind of sweet pain and sometimes makes my arms break out in hard gooseflesh.

Ten minutes ago, I found their MySpace profile, and played the first track "Yasmin the Light." As the climax approached, I heard a loud crack, and I glanced out the window beside me just in time to see a burst of green and purple in the sky. The chances of a leftover firework from July 4th being ignited at the right time and in the right place, with me seated at the right angle, combined with the fact of the band's name and the nature of their music, had me in tears with completely indescribable emotion. Sometimes I don't know quite what the universe is doing with me, but I think it's giving me a pretty wild ride.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heartburn, Ironically* -- or, Am I Having a Midlife Crisis at Age 28?

Last week, I learned that if I am juuuust stressed enough, I get some crazy digestion problems which involve having no appetite, throwing up half my meals when I force myself to eat, and getting reflux after eating the other half. I've never had that happen before, so I suppose I was more stressed than I've ever been. It certainly felt so. Alternatively, I'm old and don't deal with stress as well as I used to.

I should probably have a tag 'illness' for this blog, because it seems a good proportion of my posts are about medical problems; I recall a stretch a couple of years ago when I mostly discussed the terrorism committed by my urinary tract, which the rest of my body views with Republican-like paranoia to this day. I can't bring myself to create the label, however, because I already feel I'm turning into an old woman.

On the phone this week, my mother informed me matter-of-factly that I am now middle-aged, since I might as well be thirty.

She also received my new headshot in the mail, and her only comment? "You're getting old."
"But do you like the picture?" I pressed, offended hysteria rising like the bile in my acid-etched esophagus.
"Weeell, I guess you look pretty, but you're old. There are so many lines around your eyes. I took it to the tenant in the front flat, and he said, 'She's aging. It's natural.'"

I sent her a spiteful e-mail afterward asking (sarcastically) if she would send me money for plastic surgery so I don't disappoint her in future photographs. I guess I should call her to kiss and make up sometime tonight.

The headshot in question can currently be viewed on my Facebook and MySpace profiles, in case you're curious.

*The irony is that my heartburn is caused by affairs of the heart -- and neither of these ailments has anything to do with the cardiac organ. Suck it, Alanis Morrisette.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Soooo ...

Life is more complicated than anyone can ever imagine. Enough said about that.

In not-really-life related news: I am excited to be starting work at PlayPenn tomorrow -- I have two weeks of rehearsal for a staged reading of a new play, Another Man's Son. I will be playing Lucine, who is an Armenian, and I will probably have to whip out an American accent. Yes, that's American, not Armenian, which is a relief, but I still think it looks funny written out.

I've been teaching week-long theatre camps, and while they are ludicrously satisfying (personally, not financially), they are also incredibly exhausting. Last week I had to look after twenty campers, nineteen of whom were between the ages of 5 and 8, from nine till four every day without a break -- I sit with them and keep them entertained through lunch as well. There were tears every single day from at least one of the campers, and quite often there were tears from me as soon as I stepped through my front door again. But they did put on a lovely show at the end of it, and even though I feel like I spent half my time disciplining them, they were super-affectionate. The week before, I taught Hamlet to a class of five kids aged seven through eleven, culminating in a performance of the final fight. Srsly. (Most bizarre part: the seven-year-old understood the play better than anyone.) I have two more camps to teach; the last is a musical theatre camp for which I am a little nervous because I don't really have a clue.

The next two weeks are going to be tough for reasons I'm (again) not going to go into. Uh, into which I'm not going to go. Uh. I don't really want to go into the reasons. Suffice to say that I'm going to try focusing on reading, writing, and ... cello-ing in my spare time, which is somehow simultaneously too scarce and not scarce enough. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

4am crazy

I refused point blank to have these words said at my wedding because (a) how entirely unoriginal, and (b) it's a Bible quote, and God knows I'm not big on the Bible. But, God help me, I just woke up singing a hymn I remember from primary school based on 1 Corinthians 13. I know: cue mental hives. Not least because my mother sometimes used to wake up singing hymns in the middle of the night right before it was time to put her in the car and pack her off to hospital.

Love is patient and kind,
Love is not jealous or proud,
Never selfish or rude,
Won't demand its own way,
Love will never end.

Love does not take offense
and keeps no score of misdeeds ...

I am sure these are the lyrics. I even remember the chord changes with some degree of accuracy (requires Sibelius Scorch).

Then I searched all over the internet to find the exact wording for the end of the second verse, and the internet could not provide. I'm not sure how that's even possible.

Anyway, the point is, maybe I should have. But I don't think there's anything wrong with aspiration (non-pulmonary).