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Friday, November 25, 2011

31 Weeks - The Kickoff to Dickens

So let's just say that going in, I knew the Dickens thing would be ambitious. However, after 1 day, I'm feeling great! I danced. I called. I led sets. By late afternoon, I was thinking, "Geez, maybe we *could* do this next year with the right set up."

Yeah, yeah, crazy talk. I'll get over it.

But really, feeling great! And now luxuriating in our hotel room. This year, the fair arranged for an awesome participant discount on rooms at the Radisson just 3 miles from the Cow Palace. It was nice to be fed by 9, showered, by 9:30, and lounging in bed watching Once Upon a Time on Tivo To Go for an hour.

It may not go this well the rest of the weekend. It may not go this well in future weeks. But right now, I'm getting merrily kicked by a happy little girl while lounging in a King sized bed and my alarm isn't set to go off til 8:30 tomorrow. Usually, we wake at 7 to get to fair on time. This is going to be so awesome.

So yeah, I look ridiculous. At 5 foot 1 inch, 31 weeks pregnant is Very Obviously Pregnant. But favorite dance partners have waltzed and mazurka'd with me and the biggest difference is that my boots are hard to get on in the morning even though I'm not wearing a corset. Erik is helpful with that. On the plus side, the boots seem to help keep my feet from swelling so badly.

I noticed a wallflower this afternoon standing behind the chairs who promptly professed two left feet, and I said, "Ah, well we do specialize in fixing that here." And he gave me permission to try. We waltzed and then I handed him off to Miss Bodeswell for the Duke of Kent and then caught sight of him dancing again nearly an hour later. Super-Fezzi Powers = still got 'em.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Weekend Headed Towards the Future

Do you ever have those moments where you realize you've agreed to do something kind of crazy? For me, it was as I was sitting at home Saturday morning, missing my husband (who was off rocking his presentation at the American Chemical Society conference in Pasadena), with my feet up, trying to drain my swollen ankles. I'd agreed to teach Cathleen's Dance 3 class from 1:30-2:30 at Dickens workshops and I was planning to teach Bohemian National Polka. This was all well and good, save that, 1. my ankles and feet were harboring the 3 1/2 pounds I'd gained in one day, 2. I'd never taught BNP before, 3. Richard usually teaches it in 2 hours and I only have 1, and 4. Oh for Pete's sake, I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and I'm about to teach others to do pivots with someone who is over a foot taller than me. Can this even work???

But, I got there, I taught the class, I handed out Richard's notes, I got many compliments from the students, and an inquiry from one as to whether or not I'd be teaching anything else during workshops because he liked my teaching style. Aw shucks!

During Fezzi rehearsal, we blasted through a whole pile of set dances, now having danced everything at least once during workshops. Then I grabbed dinner with John and Rebecca and Alex, Sherman, Cordelia, and Chris for Becky's birthday. We tried the Mexican place near where Nona's used to be, and all wished we were at Nona's.

On the way back from Pacifica, I jaunted through Home Depot to pick up paint for the next day's adventure: painting the baby's room.  Earlier in the week, I'd planned to go buy the blended paint+primer that came highly recommended from friends, but they recommended the Home Depot variety. I had a Lowe's color picked out. So a trip through both, and I found a Home Depot color that was the tiniest bit different, and suddenly I wanted to paint a test wall again. I laughed at myself and reflected on the Radiolab episode on Choice and brought home my samples and splashed them up on the wall Saturday morning. Now confident in my selection, I headed back to Home Depot and grabbed 2 gallons of "Brilliant Sea" in Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint + Primer, plus a gallon of white for the ceiling. Then I proceeded to San Jose airport to reclaim my husband.

The next morning, Athena came over and put her years of interior paint experience to work. She's a master, having put herself through school with painting interiors. First she caulked a seam between the ceiling and walls. Then Erik rolled paint on while she cut in the edges. After the first coat on everything (including the ceiling), we broke for a lunch of burritos from El Sabroso. Then we finished up the second coat around 5.


It came out just gorgeous! And it matches the baby's linens perfectly.

We sent Athena on her way with many many thanks and then collapsed on the sofa. I ordered a baby crib and a dresser/changing table. They should arrive this week and we'll assemble over the next few weeks. Luckily, the 2 p.m. burrito lasted us so we skipped dinner. After getting through various emails and other electronic chores, we enjoyed an episode of Supernatural, and then I was hoping for a little dab of ice cream, but we were out of New York Super Fudge Chunk. Erik volunteered to run to the store. I realized though that I also needed gas in my car, so I started thinking about going myself, but then he said he could just take my car and do that too. I looked down at the sleeping Leeloo in my arms and handed him my credit card for gas. 



So there I was, reveling in just how good I have it, with a sleeping kitty in my arms, Pepper curled up at my side, a husband out running my errands, and a baby kicking me from the inside, with a freshly painted baby's room among the accomplishments for the weekend. Yep. It doesn't get much better than this.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

One Perfect Day


Today was a perfect day. I may never have one like it again, but when I think of how I run my life and what I'm good at achieving, today exemplified the best I can achieve and why I enjoy living this way. 

First, I crammed three major tasks/events into one day. I got my 150,000 mile service for my car. I did the first day of Dickens workshops and Fezziwig's rehearsals and got my gate pass for Dickens. My husband and I went to see a fabulous Cirque du Soleil show. 

To make this all happen, a lot of planning had to happen over a very long period of time, with a lot of fine tuning along the way.

First, there was Cirque du Soleil. Back when pre-sale tickets were first announced, I logged in and found some second tier tickets in one of my favorite locations. A quick IM exchange with the husband and these were purchased something like six months ago. 

Then there was Dickens workshops. We arranged to have Hilary come do VicSpeak at Fezzi rehearsal in October, suddenly making it totally possible to finish the required workshops on day one. 

So, with those cogs in place, the grand plan for the weekend started gelling over the last two weeks. I worked with Arielle on updating and printing Fezzibooks for newbies (thank you so much Arielle!!!). We had plenty of copies ready to hand out today, even though we basically started pulling it together three days ago. 

I got an appointment yesterday for my car service. It was at 149,500 miles, but needed some love. The window wash fluid was out. The tires gave a low pressure warning yesterday in the cold morning. I spent a few minutes here and there yesterday figuring out how we could drop it at City Toyota and get to and from workshops. They no longer automatically gave a free rental car with the 30,000 mile service, so this meant getting rides, taking two cars, or using their shuttle. We finally settled on shuttle, plus figured we'd get back via Elizabeth on the other end. When we dropped it off this morning, we realized the timing was tricky. The car had to be picked up by 5:45, and Fezzi rehearsal officially ended at 5:45. So we arranged for them to pick me up at their latest shuttle time - 4:45. We walked into workshops on time for the morning meeting after getting dropped off by City Toyota. 

We got our forms, and I got signed off for Fezzi costume approval first thing, then went to the really rather good Streets of London workshop, then did general costume approval at the top of the lunch hour, then had a leisurely lunch, including hugs and visits with old friends, and yummy chicken, veggies, and bread from Jessica's mom (many thanks! Hot food always makes my day!). By 1 p.m., after many compliments on my hand-me-down maternity costume (Thank you SO MUCH Michelle Marovich!!!) I was back in my civies,  then skittered off to Character Lab, and finally grabbed the final signatures from Dave, and had my gate pass and parking pass in hand by 2:45 in time for the start of Fezziwig's rehearsal. 

Fezziwig rehearsal included the usual full download hour, naming some newbies (Mr. Coriander, Mrs. Steep, and Mr. Jamison all distilled out of the usual line of questions), and then we did the name game. If you've not done it, you stand in a circle and each person gives the names of everyone who gave names before them, then add your own. I am notably good at this. Mr. Fezziwig marched over and started the circle just to one side of me. Now I'm thinking, "Aren't I supposed to get a pass on this for pregnancy brain?" But then I thought, "No, I've got this. I can totally do this." About half way through the circle, I realized I was sharp as ever at this and the only problem were the names of folks I didn't hear on the first announcement, so I had to wait to learn those from someone who spoke up loud enough. The circle was about 60 folks. Near the end, Curtis joked to Erik that he should call "Christmas!" before I got my chance. Erik said that he could not endorse this and it might lead to death. Initially I thought, "Eek, that's trickier," but a random sampling around the circle and I realized it would be no problem. Curtis texted me to check on his evil plan, and I told him that so long as he told me one name I'd missed, he was welcome to give it a go. WIth the circle reshuffled, I confidently made my way around, getting everyone's name without a hitch, even when faces (like Dr. Kettle!!!) showed up multiple times. Woohoo! Take that! My brain is still sharp as can be, at least for some tasks. 

Just as Fezzi rehearsal wrapped up, I got a call from a somewhat lost City Toyota shuttle driver. It wasn't the same chap who'd dropped us off, so he didn't know where to find us. We packed up and went to meet him outside. By 6 p.m., my car was serviced, washed, had new wiper blades, new brake fluid, a new belt, and new batteries in both key fobs, and we were on our way to see Totem at AT&T Park. This gave us 2 hours til showtime, which  gave us plenty of time to figure out alternative parking. I'd received an email from Cirque saying that due to another event, parking rates would be $30 per car. So, we circled in on the location, then widened back out to Brannan, parking nearly in front of Tech Soup, and started walking in to the Grand Chapiteau. It was raining, and the detail I'd forgotten was an umbrella. Scarves thrown over our heads served us well and we walked a few blocks and had supper at Amici's. The Cal game at the park had been rained out, so the place was packed, but we quickly found a tasty pizza to split and were on our way in the much less rainy weather for the final blocks to the Grand Chapiteau. 

We arrived, picked up the complimentary souvenir program and CD that came with my tickets for purchasing pre-sale with an AMEX card, then signed up for a cool contest where the prize is a private party where Cirque comes to you for you and 25 friends. Then we posed for a photo and finally headed in. Then I remembered which seats I'd bought so long ago. After years of seeing Cirque du Soleil, my favorite seats in the house are on Row H. You see everything, you have the  section break to give you plenty of leg room, and we were on not only the row H, but also seats 1 and 2 by the #3 door where at least 3 performers entered the show. I said, "Oh, right. These are my favorite seats." I explained to Erik and he just said, "Have I mentioned how much this planning thing you do is awesome? And that it makes me love you even more? Because yeah." 

Totem is the best Cirque du Soleil show I've seen in years. There were amazing acts the likes of which I've never seen. There was an amazing set with mind boggling lighting and effects, gorgeous music, and perfect costumes. I can't tell you if the best act was the Mad Scientist juggler, the bowl-flipping girls on tall unicycles, or the ultra sexy roller skate dance. And that's just he top three. But the set really was a star as well with images of the performers swimming along and the real performers popping out of the images or the hydraulic bridge/boat/scorpion spine thing that glided out to become whatever it needed to be or the stealth trampoline run in the floor. Just awesome. And a really full length show - 2 1/2 hours as opposed to some of the Vegas shows clocking in at just barely an hour.

The rain had stopped and we walked back to the car and found it happy and safe and waiting for us. I drove home, laughing at Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, as Erik napped. We got home and I played feather with Leeloo at bit til she crawled up in my arms to snuggle as I typed this. So yeah, I can't imagine a more perfect, more perfectly me day. 

I needed this day so much. For at least the past week I've felt like I've been moving more slowly, unable to keep things running at the pace I usually set, letting things slide through the cracks, missing the little tuning adjustments that need to happen to make my day run smoothly, and feeling a bit defeated by my unwieldy body, and tired, so very tired. It's been frustrating at work. It's been frustrating in the evenings. And I'd just about given in to this being the new normal when I could least afford it. I honestly had some serious doubts about making it through Dickens season successfully without having to hit the eject button on something, but I couldn't begin to pick what would be the thing left behind, because I can't take more time off work and I can't stop being pregnant, and that leaves Dickens, but dammit, it's the one thing I do for my happiness every year and I know already I'm taking next year off. So would it be the thing that I gave up now too? 

But you know what? I can do this. I can hold my brain together, and true to form, I perform at my peak when I have to. A little extra pressure makes everything fall together like a perfectly baked cake. And tonight, the icing on the cake is the extra hour of sleep as I set the clock back before climbing into bed. I think I earned my bonus hour today.