Wednesday, July 25, 2012

There Are No Famous Quotes In Cymbeline

"Cymbeline" - one of Shakespeare's lesser known plays. Actually, "Pericles" may be the only play lesser known than "Cymbeline".

Set in ancient Britain, when they were under Roman rule, the story revolves around King Cymbeline, his daughter Imogen, his second wife (the Evil Stepmother Queen!), her son Cloten, Imogen's lover Posthumous, some lost children of Cymbeline, a roguish Italian named Iachimo, a banished lord......your usual five-act Shakespeare bonanza of plot devices, disparate storylines, love, revenge, jealousy, battles, disguises, and a happy ending.

The design theme for the show was a fairytale, "Princess Bride" look - with a little Ancient Rome thrown in for good measure (there's a Roman General who shows up halfway through, and I decided to go with the classical Roman soldier tunic, tab belt and helmet for him, just to make things easy to follow).

I had most of the base costumes in my stock, and was able to pull several that I built years ago for "The Merchant of Venice"; but I created several hats, a really lovely, simple bodice for one of the women.

meet Headless Cloten II
Oh, and I had to dress a dummy. "Which one?" became the standard joke in the costume shop, not that we think actors are - not so bright. But when you have to teach a 50-year-old how to put on a shirt....(Most actors will admit to reverting to toddlerdom when it comes to putting on costumes; they forget how to tie their shoes, how to button their shirts, they pu a dress on backwards, etc.) 

Back to the dummy: Cloten, son of the Evil Queen, puts on Posthumous' outfit to fool Imogen, but instead runs into some rustic mountain folk (Cymbeline's kidnapped children, btw), and one of them beheads him. Yeah. And then Imogen finds the headless body, in Posthumous' clothes, and thinks her lover is dead. Tragic. Which meant I had to build a second tunic for the dummy. It's been bloodied and dirtied as well, by the t.d., and I hope to get a picture of the final "look" this weekend.

Fancy-schmancy king's robe
I had to do some repairs to Cymbeline's over-robe, and add additional trim to cover the repairs. He looks very regal.

Friday, July 20, 2012

One Door Closes.....

...and it sucks for an hour. That one, small, hall closet-size door that was my job at St. Catherine University.

The theater budget got cut in half for the upcoming school year, so they plan on repurposing and reusing costumes from the last couple of years. But not my costumes, the other designer's costumes. So, she's the one that got hired back. Good for her. Not so good for me.

UPDATE: I had a coffee date with my dear director friend, so he could dump me. One hour after I was "made redundant" by St. Kate's, I was dumped, because he wanted to be monogamous. With somebody else. For no other reason than he didn't want to hurt her feelings. I guess my feelings didn't, and don't, matter.

But, once I got home, and went online, I found a great big, double front door, just waiting for me to open. Norcostco is hiring a full time sales floor person. The company that I worked at for eight years, where I'm known, where I have experience, is hiring. So wrote a new cover letter, sent off my resume, and within an hour heard back from my former boss (not my immediate supervisor, but the big boss of the whole costume/make up/sales division)! She was very excited to see my resume, and we set up an interview, in two weeks' time. She has to go to the Atlanta office, but wants to see me as soon as she gets back. I'm thinking positively, hoping for some good things to happen.

That's one of the biggest differences between Jeff and I. He can only see the bad things, the cloudy skies, that life is one giant "Kick Me" sign on his back. Me, I tend to find the silver lining, the bright side of life, the positive things that could happen. And that's why things usually work out for me. I don't see failure; I accept that plans change, that there are unexpected twists and turns in the road, that we can't predict where we'll end up. And that's okay.

"Everything will be all right in the end. If it's not all right, then it isn't the end yet."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Salad Days

Mondays seem to be my food creation days; at least, the last two Mondays have been.

July 9th: I was gearing up for tech/dress rehearsals for "Cymbeline". I also had a bunch of raspberries that needed to be baked into something, and a birthday party post-rehearsal. And thus, Chocosagna was born.

I was all crisped out, and thinking more of a raspberry bar-type dessert, a sweet finger food if you will.  I started with a yellow cake mix, one egg, and one stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted. Mixed them together and pressed the shortbread-like dough into a 9x13 pan for the base. I had mixed the raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups) with a bit of sugar to sweeten them, so I poured the berries and resulting juice onto the crust; then sprinkled about 1/2 cup chopped pecans, and 1 cup of dark chocolate morsels over the berries; and poured a can of sweetened condensed milk over the whole thing. Popped it into the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. When I took the pan out of the oven, I decided to swirl the melty chocolate chip morsels over the whole concoction; in hindsight, it would have been better to leave the morsels alone. Anyway, the bar/cake/dessert was gooey, so I put it in the refrigerator to chill and firm up.

After rehearsal, I cut the bars; because the chocolate layer had hardened in the fridge, it was kind of....messy to cut through. Messy, but tasty! I left a few bars for the kids, and took the rest to the party. When I removed the cover, our host Matt thought I had brought an overbaked lasagna - the chocolate layer looked a bit like burnt cheese, the raspberries like red sauce, and the crust like noodles, I guess. My dear director friend was the first brave soul to try it - he loved it! As did the others who gave it a go. A definite winner.

UPDATE: My dear director friend was also busy feeling me up during the party - I almost dropped the dessert when he played grab-ass with me. Then he wanted me to "rub my gorgeous body against him" when he gave me a good-bye hug. This was just before the second time he dumped me.

When I make this again - and I will make it again - I'll put the sweetened condensed milk on the crust first, then the berries, nuts and chocolate chips. And I won't spread out the melted chocolate. Maybe a little drizzle of white chocolate to top everything off!

July 16th: Hot, hot hot! It's still so hot! A cold supper was in order; lunchmeats and cheeses, crusty french bread, and Damn Good Potato Salad. Which meant boiling potatoes in the morning, before it got too hot
outside; also hard boiled some eggs while I was at it.

Damn Good Potato Salad
3 lbs. size "b" potatoes ( the little red-skinned ones)
2 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
mayo/vinegar dressing

I peeled most of the skin off of the potatoes; I had some sprouting and eyes that had to be removed, and I cut them in half. Dropped them in a large pot of water, boiled them until tender. I saved some of the potato water (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup) before draining the potatoes; as they cooled slightly, I whisked together the reserved water, about 1/4 c. white wine vinegar, about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (the last of the bottle!), and several splashes of worchester sauce. Once I could handle the potatoes, I cut them into bite-size pieces, then poured the vinaigrette over them, stirred it all up so all the potato bites would absorb the liquid, and put them in the refrigerator to cool for several hours.

Just before serving, I mixed together some (maybe 3/4 cup) mayonnaise (mayo, not Miracle Whip (mayo, always mayo, gentle reader)), a couple tablespoons of spicy brown mustard, some more white wine vinegar and worchester sauce, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, and some Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt. I mixed the dressing with the potatoes, added the hard-boiled eggs and green onions, and served up my Damn Good Potato Salad.

The rest of last week was costume creations for Cymbeline; I'll post about them later (and at least I have photos of the items!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Independence Day

Gonna try this again.

No kids tonight. R. & C. are at CONvergence, and I haven't heard a thing from them. Too busy being all sci-fi geeky and shit, I bet. And J. is going to her grandma's for the night.

So this will be my first Friday on my own, no need to check on or check in with anybody. My plans are simple: drinks with a couple of friends, (one of whom is going to see "Laughter on the 23rd Floor" with a couple of my comps), then dinner with a close girl friend, and possibly ending with a viewing of  "Mostly Martha" hosted by the St. Paul Public Library, at the Central location. They're offering "Foodie Flicks" on Fridays in July; I'm hoping to make it to most of them.

Creations this week:
Tuesday: I wrote a kickass cover letter for my resume, then sent it off to CTC. I also had a swim date with a dear friend; the pool was heavenly, especially during this heat wave. We created a fun, cooling interlude in our busy lives, and made a few plans for later this month. From there, on to the Caves for my Cigarette girl gig. Turns out, it was an international business group of some kind (don't know what business), and I was quite a hit with the Europeans! 

Betty the Cigar Girl

"Cigars, poker chips, mints, chocolates?"
Sadly, the chocolates I had to give out were American milk chocolate, which isn't so popular in other countries, but they appreciated the novelty of the "cigars" and "poker chips". Some of the men were disappointed I didn't have real cigars - they wouldn't have been able to smoke them inside anyways!

Wednesday: Happy Independence Day! I helped R. with her final costume for CONvergence - a silver metallic knit catsuit. She did an amazing job! No pattern, very little experience - and it turned out really good. I taught her how to use the serger, helped her with a few patterning and fit issues, and put the zipper in for her; but the majority of it was all her doing! Then R. and C. modeled their various outfits, and I took pictures. R. posted them on her tumblr site; I'll have to wait until they come back with the camera to post any photos.

Thursday: First, R. needed a zipper put in her hobo bag; she didn't want it wide open, with her money and phone easily accessible. I had to reconfigure the top a little bit, to get the zipper to work; and the straps had to be removed then reattached. but it worked for her! Later that evening, I ended up helping one of the other costumers at Shakespeare & Company with some finishing on vests. I suggested using snaps for closures instead of making buttonholes, especially since a couple of the vests were a little too snug to get really good buttonholes; then just sewed the buttons on top of the snaps, for effect. Easy-peesy, and super-fast finishing.

On tap for this weekend: getting my Cymbeline costumes ready; I've got some shirts to build, a couple of matching tunics to put together, and headwear to figure out. And shoes; all the actors need shoes. I'll think about that tomorrow.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Finding the New Normal

Alright, let's just get this over with - it's hot in Minnesota; Africa hot; record-breaking, outside-baking HOT.

And my weekend didn't go as planned - AT ALL. I had parties to go to, friends to see, plans made; all to keep me occupied, and let the kids go with their dad to a pool party on Saturday night. I was invited to that party, too; it was the opening-night party for Shakespeare & Company, and opening night of the first show "The Merry Wives of Windsor". I had originally planned to skip both, but the hubs didn't want to have to deal with questions about where I was, why I wasn't there. So, to keep the peace, and to keep the kids happy, I went. It was fine, the people who know about our split are being discreet, allowing us our space. But I had made plans with friends to watch a movie, and had to back out at the last minute. I felt torn, and not quite right being at the company party.

Friday night was a slightly different matter. I was going to attend a friend's 50th birthday party, and was looking forward to my first night out, without having to check in with anybody. Then, Friday afternoon, J. got her first period. (She would not be happy with me if she knew I was posting this!) It was....traumatic, to say the least. J. was crying, R. was trying to comfort her, and big brother C. kept out of the way - far away. She finally calmed down, I took off to get ready for the party - then R. called, "J. wants to spend the night with you. She misses you." So, I took off my party clothes, picked her up, and brought her over to my dad's for the night. 

On to my creations: Friday evening, I made another, slightly different raspberry crisp (no almonds!); Saturday, what did I do Saturday? Costume stuff, and got my gear together for a gig on Tuesday night. Sunday, I worked on C.'s CONvergence costume, sewing white fabric tabs onto a black jacket, for an anime character that he wants to be.

And today? I wrote a new resume, helped my stepmom with a rescue adventure, and turned a cardboard box lid into a cute cigarette girl box for tomorrow's gig. Pictures to follow, I promise!

The rescue adventure was not particularly eventful; my dad had a dentist appointment this morning, getting a tooth pulled; but the tooth was in bad shape, and one of the roots didn't come out. So, with a mouth full of novacaine, my dad drove himself to an oral surgeon in St. Paul for the root extraction. By the time my stepmom found out, he was already there; this is where I come into the picture. She needed me to drive her to the office building, so she could drive him home. And of course, it's right in the middle of the University Ave. light rail construction. We found the building, had to make a u-turn to get to the parking lot, then entered at the south end of the building, when we wanted to be at the north end. A quick walk through the atrium, and we found him. All is well. 

But still really hot.