Tuesday, July 29, 2008


That is the approximate number of mosquito bites on my body right now, including one on the inside of my right index finger. Avon Skin So Soft bug repellent, why have you failed me!?!? Oh, the glory of outdoor drama!

Today is the day we live for every summer here at TWV...the last show opens tonight! :) This year, it's High School Musical. It's been a stressful summer, to say the least, so we were all a little down about having to go into tech again this weekend. But it turned out to be the best weekend we've had working! This show is a blast. The kids (all 60 of them) are having a wonderful time and it's so much fun to watch things through their eyes. For most of them, it's their first big show and they are having the time of their lives. The tech staff is, too. Marcus (my darling husband, also the director) requested confetti shoot out onto the stage at the end of the "Mega Mix." I pulled out our industrial fans and started cutting up colored tissue paper right away. We tested the fans. They were cool...but not quite cool enough. 'Amir and Josh, our technical directors, got that little glimmer in their eyes and disappeared to Lowe's for about 3 hours. When they got back, construction began on the confetti guns. WE HAVE CONFETTI GUNS! Tonight we'll have 6 of them. They use air pressure to shoot the confetti out over the audience. And it's AWESOME! Meanwhile, I'm backstage with 3 other folks throwing confetti in front of the fans so it blows onto the stage from the sides. The effect is cool and making confetti and guns to shoot it from has been our sanity this weekend. I really do love my job.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Physical Therapy--not for the weak!

Or "PT" as those on the inside call it. YOWZA! I had my second PT appointment today and my shoulder actually hurts worse than when I went in! Johnny the physical therapist is a lot of fun, though, and he explains everything he's doing and has quite a gentle touch. I'm so grateful to him for working me in. We'll be spending even more time together next week. The whiplash is still around. While my lower back is feeling much better, the left side of my neck and shoulder are KILLING me! (I'm sure lifting my near-20-pound child doesn't help!) Johnny the physical therapist suggested I take a full day off work and lay flat on my back in bed. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. He then added "Since that's not going to happen..." and showed me a few exercises I can do between cues at work and gave me some disposable ice packs. I have a feeling I"ll be partaking in a Skelaxin tonight!

MANY thanks to all who emailed and commented about my last post. It's good to hear that all moms seem to go through this big re-adjustment period. I expected to go through a lot of changes, just not quite this many at once. We've had a heck of a six-month period, what with organ transplants, birth, major abdominal surgery, moving twice (ugh!), new jobs, etc. I'm happy to hear your stories and even happier to realize I'm not losing my mind!

This weekend, we head into tech for High School Musical. Marcus (he's directing) and his stage manager, Sarah, were at the theatre til about 3:30 this morning setting lights with the crew. I covered the morning rehearsal for them so they could sleep in. Oh, y'all. 57 middle and young high schoolers is A LOT. A WHOLE lot. Fortunately, some of our older (college-aged) company members are also in the show, so they provide a nice break from the insanity. The show is looking good, though, and the set is fantastic. (It's our GREASE set from last summer with a new coat of paint and some snazzy new bleachers!) The show is selling like hotcakes and should be a really good time.

Dean had breakfast in his booster seat for the first time this morning. He went nuts over the toy tray that snaps over the eating tray. His little eyes almost crossed from the excitement! I was able to take my time fixing his cereal and my coffee while he played happily. I tried putting the bowl on his eating tray, but soon he learned that he could splat his hand in it, so I had to move it. Then he figured out that, since he's higher up, he can reach the coffee table if he leans over the side of his chair. We had to do several readjustments and repositions, but I think we've found a place for the chair where he's safely out of range of anything that could potentially damage him (or vice versa!). Solid food continue to go down well. And out--he pooped 4 times yesterday.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I could eat candy and watch HGTV, but that would be counter-productive.

Ok. Scroll down to yesterday's entry with the pictures. Look at the 4th one. (Dean sacked out) That has been our day. He took an hour-long nap this morning and is currently down for the count again! I look at these naps as God's little gifts to me. It's my first day at home alone with the little guy since the wreck. (whiplash doing better, thanks. Haven't had a muscle relaxer since Sunday. Thank you, Lord, for rapid-release Tylenol!) We've had a full day involving pureed apples and butternut squash, a bath with brand-new bath toys, several storybooks and some time with our new giraffe ring stacker. I even got to eat lunch while he snoozed. I ordered a booster seat for Dean yesterday (Rainforest collection, of course) and am looking forward to its arrival. We've been feeding him in his bouncy chair and it's KILLING my back!

So now comes the time when Jen reaches out to her internet friends. Tell me, moms of all ages, how long did it take you to feel like yourself again after the arrival of your bambino(s)? I have not felt like myself lately, and this accident on Friday was kind of the tip of the iceberg. Marcus keeps telling me it's hormones and stress and to give myself a break. My mom friends tell me that it's learning to re-prioritize things now that I'm a mom. I'm having a rough time separating work from home, no doubt because of the insane hours we keep and the fact that I work with my husband. (and Dean is with us at work some nights) I know Dean is healthy and happy. He loves being around lots of people. He's the life of the party. I, however, feel like I'm hanging on by a thread most days. There has been a LOT of stress at work this season, more than I think any of us expected. We joke a lot among the production staff that we sometimes feel like we spend more time dealing with off-stage drama than we do dealing with the shows. And that takes its toll on you when it's your job to mediate the drama, help solve the problems and keep the peace.

If you've been there, tell me how you coped with life "on and off stage!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Picture pages, picture pages

Here are some pictures of a cute little six-month old guy for your entertainment!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

Remember how in my last post I said I could use a little rest and an extra day off? Well, both of those have been granted, due to a nasty case of whiplash. I was leaving Chili's last night, after dining with Marcus, Dean and four friends of ours. I was the first one to leave, as I needed to get to work to figure out how to cover two cast members who were sick and missing last night's show. I pulled to a red light behind a green Ford van. Suddenly, the car behind me slammed into the back of me, forcing me into the green van. Then the guy who hit me sped by us both in the margain and took off down the road. A lady in the turn lane got his plate number and we gave it to the dispatcher when we called 911, along with a description of the car, a maroon Dodge Stratus. The police officer who came to do the accident report had called in the license plate and it came up as registered to a white Ford Taurus from Charelston. (Guess that explains the hit and run, huh?) The folks in the green van had their three young kids with them, including an 8 month old. (Cue tears from Jen, thinking Oh, My God, what if Dean had been with me?) Marcus was not far from the scene and showed up quickly. (Dean was asleep in his carset by this time and completely uninterested in the events.) As we filled out the report, my neck and shoulders started getting tight. Marcus recommended I go to the ER and get checked out. I really wanted to go to work. We had two people out and it was a sold-out show of Cinderella. But he convinced me to go to the hospital (but not before I convinced HIM to take me by the theatre to talk Katy, my assistant, through calling the show. Haha!). It ended up being the right call--I've got a wicked case of whiplash. I hurt from my ears to my hips. The doctor prescribed Skelaxin, which I've taken twice. It makes me goofy and very sleepy. I can't believe how badly this hurts. Needless to say, I'm not going to work tonight. I can't even pick Dean up. I'm feeling pretty worthless right now, especially since I was just reminded that I have 2 understudies going on tonight and my director is back in town to watch the show for the first time since opening. But if I did go in, I'd probably hurt myself worse, so to bed with my Skelaxin I go. Wah, wah.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Remember me?

Wow. I can't believe it's been so long since I posted. This summer is kicking my tail, y'all. I love my job, but I'm struggling with parts of it this summer. Let me tell you a little about what I do. (Several people have asked--thanks for being interested!) I'm currently in my summer gig at Theatre West Virginia, where I am Production Stage Manager (PSM). In a nutshell, it's my job to make sure everything runs smoothly, both on and off stage. I am a mother-hen, disciplinarian, drill sergeant, confidante, teacher, leader, and many other things. I love my job. LOVE it. It's the only thing I've ever found that allows me to use all of my brain. I get to use my problem-solving skills, personality, people-skills, organization, trouble-shooting, creativity and so many other things. I get to dabble in all parts of the production, not just one. I get to be there from start to finish on a project. During rehearsal, the stage manager takes down blocking, which is every move the actors make. We track all the props, set pieces and costumes, then when we tech the show, all the light and sound cues and put them together in what's called a prompt book. The stage manager calls the show during performances, meaning nothing goes until the stage manager says GO. We sit on a headset in a booth with the sound and light board operators and call every cue in the show, including scenery shifts, etc. SO, it's a big job, but so much fun. I adore it. (most days) Part of being PSM is also dealing with the day-to-day issues that arise and supervising the technical staff. This summer has been a bit trying. Without going into specifics, I'll just tell you that there have been more issues than usual and we've added a fourth show to our season, so figuring out the Jenga-game that is scheduling has been rough on all of us. On top of all this, I'm juggling motherhood for the first time, and Dean is absolutely my top priority. I am emotionally and physically pretty drained right now. Cinderella (the third of our four shows) opened on Tuesday and the weekend leading up to opening was quite demanding. We did three dress runs on Monday, our last ending at 1:30am. I was so hyped up on coffee at the end of it that I stuck around the theatre and helped out in the costume shop for a while before heading home. I FINALLY learned to use a sewing machine! Fun times.

Cinderella opening was a good night, which I needed. It's easy to get discouraged when things get really hard, especially when you have so many balls in the air. I was about ready to throw in the towel, then something happened during the show that reminded me why I do what I do. There's a part in Cinderella where the Godmother makes the house disappear, turns two mice into a coachman and a footman, turns a pumpkin into a golden carriage and turns Cinderella into a beautiful princess. We use a body double so Cinderella's quick change is instantaneous. Well, when that golden carriage rolled onto the stage, about 300 little girls in princess costumes stood up and squealed and clapped and got the most amazed looks on their faces...and it was magical. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the little things and daily grind that you forget that magical feeling you once felt that made you want to do this for the rest of your life. I remembered why I do theatre and why I love it so much. I am so thankful to have had that moment to remind me.

Dean is doing wonderfully. He loves being the company baby and getting passed around all the time. When he's with us on show nights, the girls all line up to kiss him for luck before they go onstage. One day last week, he fell asleep with about 20 lipstick marks on his face. At his six-month checkup last week, he weighed in at a whopping 18 1/2 lbs! (no wonder our backs hurt all the time!) He started solids, which has been very entertaining. So far, we love everything except green beans. I'll post pictures of the horrid messes we have made very soon. Right now I have to go scrub sweet potato puree off the couch. ;)