Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This routine is starting to fit like a glove:
  • rise late (I've been trying to change that, but damn, I need my sleep right now!)
  • go directly to computer, preferably clutching a beverage of some sort: water, tea, lemonhoney- whatever.
  • check these things in the following order: headlines, fave blogs, email. Draw this part of the day out as long as possible.
  • do whatever needs doing: practice, cleaning, cooking
  • go early to the university and take advantage of their big Aquatic Centre. Swim, steam and sauna before the show so you feel like a piece of cooked spaghetti.
  • 15-minute physical warm up before show (optional if swimming has been done)
  • 20-minute vocal warm up (mandatory for all cast members; led by moi.)
  • spend 90 minutes in Greek Tragedy land.
  • schmooze with whoever came to see the show, and hopefully cadge a ride home with them.
  • repeat computer routine, and go to bed.
The absence of a routine in my life is a blessing/curse situation: nothing to get bored with, but hard to build a life when every day is different. When I have long(ish) contracts I enjoy whatever routine is built, especially because I know that it won't last forever. The swimming has been great though, and I hope I can keep up with that after "Medea" is over.

In other news, I went ahead and booked a ticket to Toronto for March, where I'll meet up with my mom and the "Emperor" cast and spend a couple of days reacquainting myself with the city of my birth. A bit self-indulgent, but hey. I haven't been to TO in almost 20 years and although it will be great to see my mom again I really want to see:
St. Lawrence Market
The Islands
Spadina & Chinatown
some old family friends I haven't seen in forever.

2009- the year of travel! Bring it on.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I phone my dad, ask him how he's coping. Yesterday was hard, he says. I was watching the inauguration and I knew that she would have enjoyed it so much; she was so happy when he got elected. This time last month she had less than 2 days to live.

Walking to work yesterday I realize that it has been almost a month since I smoked my last cigarette and this time I've barely missed them at all. Too busy, and too much singing. I get weekly emails from and I read them and think oh yeah, I used to be a smoker. It seems so long ago, and so stupid.

The last few days were like one of those suspense radio serials from the '40s: Will our heroine get over her cold and recover her voice in time for opening night? It was a close thing, but thanks to massive doses of Esberitox, lemon-and-honey and Benzocaine-infused lozenges, I had a voice (of sorts) for my opening. And it was much better last night, when J came to watch, and hopefully it will be even better tonight. And in another 8 days, this show will be nothing but a memory, which is incredible to me after all these months of work.

I have received news of an offer of work so incredible, I can hardly believe it might actually happen, although it sounds like it's in the bag. Suffice it to say, I may be spending half the summer on the coast of the Aegean Sea, in a party town in Western Turkey. More details on that soon...

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Cure for all Ills

So the whole cast of "Medea" is in various stages of cold-and-flu hell. The dark side of theatrical bonding: get your periods all at the same time, get sick together. At least most of us seem to only have colds, unlike one poor girl who obviously had something worse because she actually barfed onstage yesterday during our first run-thru. Talk about the Actor's Nightmare.

I'm battling my own symptoms (nothing worse than achy bones, sore throat and a stuffy nose, thank the gods) with a drink so potent it could singlehandedly be the cure for the common cold- and so easy to make:
  • cut up some ginger and throw it in a pan of boiling water
  • after the water has absorbed the gingery goodness, ladle a cup of it into a glass or mug.
  • Add the juice and pulp of 1 lemon, and spoon in a generous dollop of honey.
  • If you need extra kick, add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper and a clove of garlic, smashed or sliced. Make sure you eat the garlic as you take sips of the Potion.
  • If it's night-time, feel free to also add whiskey, rum or brandy if you want a deep and lovely slumber.
The Lemon-and-Honey is a potion from my childhood, and indeed we were seldom given anything stronger, as my mother doesn't really believe in drugs. (Having the constitution of an ox, she doesn't need them.) The cayenne and garlic I first tried last year at my friend Steve's , and I was so impressed I straightaway started making all my potions this way.

I'd take a picture of the Potion, in all its golden splendor but- whoops- I just finished it!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

and now for something completely different...

Can I just tell you all how much I love the smoked oyster? I can (and do) eat a whole can as a tasty snack. It was only recently that I realized I could buy these little, cheap cans all the time! Not just at Christmas! I could eat them any time I liked!!!

And then I looked at one. Close-up. Biiiiig mistake. Note to self: shellfish are best eaten blindfolded.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I think that my body is holding a lot of grief and tension inside it right now and it's actually making it kind of hard to breathe, which always sounds so melodramatic, but hey, this is my blog so I'm going to come out and say it: I'm having trouble breathing. I've had this problem ever since I was a kid and it comes and goes with seemingly no common cause. When I was little my mom would sometimes ask me why I sighing and I would say but I'm not. I was just breathing. I breathe through my mouth a lot (I know, such a bad habit for a singer) and when this... problem happens I end up having to take big gasping shoulder-heaving breaths just to feel as if I'm getting enough air. And of course the more I think about it the more freaked-out I get and the more it happens, which is why I think it's tension-related. I mean, I had my lungs tested a few years ago, just in case, and the specialist said that my lungs would probably outlast my pension plan. Puffers don't help. Breathing through my nose usually makes me feel panicky. Even writing about it is making me feel tense and like I might cry.

Which is why I totally think it's tension; I think that my body knows (even if my brain doesn't) that I haven't finished grieving about my stepmom yet. Not to mention the incredible tension of standing on stage every night and absorbing all the passion and grief of this powerful Greek tragedy I'm rehearsing. Ninety minutes, no exits, no leaving the stage, no relaxing for a moment because if one of us loses focus, the energy plunges.

Our director warned us that this play would be a workout and we'd have to get in shape. I just never thought it would suffocate me, you know?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Seems I'm not alone in being alone...

Excerpt from week 12, the final week of my online film course:

The following is an interesting paradox:

We dream of such things happening to us—of rising to the occasion, scoring our first film, and doing a splendid job. Then, when some opportunity actually comes along, self-doubt finds a way to slowly creep in and erode some of the confidence we have in ourselves.

I refer to this as SCAD, short for Situational Creative Anxiety Disorder. This is very typical and happens even to established film composers. We must find a way to downplay these doubts and press onward.

So very true!

Turning over new leaves.

The new year settles in, and so much is the same, and some things are different.

We're trying, we really are. We've tightened our belts so this is week 2 of doing a weekly shop for groceries and not eating out. Last week we spent- well, I'm not going to tell you, 'cause it's embarrassing. But we lived on that food for a week and didn't cheat, no eating out except for my forays to Shoppers for Liquorice Allsorts. This week we almost cut that grocery bill in half. The secret? Make a weekly meal plan, take the ingredients from that plan and make it into a shopping list. Most importantly, take a calculator to the supermarket with you!!! We're eating smaller, healthier meals, losing some weight and saving money. We're making to-do lists every week and trying to follow through. I'm playing my clarinet every day. J's doing his video work. The bathroom floor got thoroughly scrubbed for the first time in, um, a long time. We're slowly learning that a little planning ahead can pay off in a big way. Right now our schedules are pretty free, so we'll see how we do when things get busier...

I am frustrated and red-faced that I'm 34 and just learning this stuff. I wish my parents had showed me this way earlier, like maybe when I was in the womb. Or that I'd clued in when I was in my twenties. Even more embarrassed to realize, just now, that I did know some of this stuff but was too lazy to change. But I figure I can either wallow in that frustration or say well, I was late to the game. But not too late to learn a few new tricks.

No new photographs for ages. It's hard to get excited about pictures when your world is grey, rain, melting snow, dirt, more rain. Our winter wonderland has turned back into Vancouver's usual winter wet. I need, need, to get out and exercise, but have so little inclination to do so in this damp that clings like a monkey. We stay as warm as we can, curl up under blankets, nestle.

I learn again and again how love keeps changing. With the new year comes, for me, a new strength of love and resolve to keep working so that this person will keep loving me back. If it takes a few to-do lists to make life run more smoothly; well, they're worth it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Snow & smoked salmon

I was reading the CBC news website tonight and chuckling to myself at the weather report at the top left of the page: Light rainfall. Meanwhile, a veritable blizzard was raging outside my window as I read. Snow, wind- it was the perfect night for the ladies of Zeellia to meet and have a Doctor Zhivago party at my place... unfortunately the lady with the DVD couldn't find a bus or a cab to get her here. Snow in Vancouver: the way we handle it (and by "we" I mean our transit system and things like, um, snow plows) is what makes all the other cites in Canada despise us. So Amelia, Carmen and I sat around my table, drank Vodka, ate incredible home-smoked salmon that Carmen's husband catches and makes, and caught up on the holiday news. Clinging to the last days of parties and eating Christmas leftovers before "real life" begins again. Probably much more fun than trying to sit through a very dated movie!

I guess it depends what day Christmas and New Year's Day falls on, but the the last few days of the holidays are pretty limbo-ish. Case in point: this year Christmas and New Year's were on a Thursday, so there were 3 post-Holiday days to get through before things get back to normal tomorrow. I went back to work yesterday, and UBC was a ghost town, with no one on campus and holiday window displays still up. Tonight's storm caught everyone by surprise, as it was supposed to rain. But the temperatures are rising, and I think the snow may finally be on its way out. Carmen says we've had 22 days of snow; I don't remember anything near as much as that in the 20 years I've lived on the 'wet' coast. I know it inconvenienced a lot of people but I'll always remember this as the year we had a storybook white Christmas. Sad to think we may be back to grey and rain until about May...