30 January 2007

If I had $400

You know that Bare Naked Ladies song? "If I had a Million Dollars"? Well, if I had $400, I'd buy David a present. I'd get him one of these.

29 January 2007

Paula Prentiss, c'est moi

After having three consecutive directors ask me not to cut my hair, I have finally cut it. I convinced Chuck (my director for Anton) and Kendal (our hair and make-up designer) that Casey just needed shorter, less "processed" hair to look plainer than the dewey Lisabette or the TV-glamourous Holly.

This wasn't a hard sell because Kendel had her hands full creating separate looks for the three women playing men. All three of them have to make quick changes from one character to another, so the wigs and mustaches that they might wear have to be easy to get on and off and secure when they are on. I think that as long as the subtext to my hair was that it wouldn't require any help from anyone, it was going to be acceptable.

So I went to see Stephen, my hairdresser, and told him what I wanted. Stephen is also a director and theater hair designer, so all I usually have to do is tell him the charater I'm playing and when the show's set. I had had about four inches trimmed off after we closed Boy Gets Girl, but it was still pretty long. I told Stephen about Casey and mentioned that I'd like to look good in the 163 hours in the week when I wasn't on stage, and what could we do? Then I shut up and let him get to work. The first close of the scissors took off about 7 inches.

The result is your basic bob, slightly longer in the front than the back, and shorter than it has been since I was in elementary school. Because my hair is pretty thick, cutting off that much automatically makes it look fuller and gives it more volume. I can style it pretty easily and it's right for both New Yorker Casey and li'l ol' me. I love it. I wore a longer bob a couple of years ago that I called my "Cherry Ames, Student Nurse" haircut.

This one is my Paula Prentiss haircut. I don't have the bangs, but the length and general cut is right. It should be noted that this haircut is so good that the engineers and accountants I work with have complimented me on it. More than once. One cast member told me that I now looked too young and pretty to play Casey (I thanked her and asked her not to repeat that where Chuck could hear her.)

In fact, I'm considering using this photo of Ms. Prentiss the next time I'm asked for a headshot. The percentage of headshots that actually look like the the people they are supposed to depict is small enough that I have no moral qualms about this at all. None. My hair looks like hers, so who cares if her cheekbones are incredible and mine, uhm, aren't. And, oh yeah, she has brown eyes and I have grey eyes. And she seems to be in black and white, but I can fake that at auditions with the right wardrobe.

And besides, like David (and Ann-Margret*), she attended Northwestern, so maybe I can impress him that way.

*And, like David, but not like A-M, she graduated. Of course, it should be noted that A-M was busy making Bye-Bye Birdie, her 3rd movie, in the year in which she would have graduated. I'm just sayin'.

25 January 2007

I thought about the game

I like sports. Well, I like sporting events. I like going to "the game" more or less no matter what game I'm going to see, because sporting events are pretty much just big theme parties. There's food, whose expense is only exceeded by its unheathfulness; there are people, many of whom have had multiple beers; there is the costume, mainly jeans and a ballcap; and there is cheering. There are also the quasi-religious superstitions and rituals. And there is also some kind game, too, of course, let's not forget that.

Among my favorite games to attend are baseball games with Brett and football games with John and Mattie. I like going to games with them because they are knowledgeable about the games we are going to see and invested in them. They want their teams to win. I want to eat hot dogs and sit in the sunshine. (For hockey, I want to eat hot dogs and sit in a nice, warm arena.) Winning is nice, too. Definitely better than losing.

As you may have guessed from the above, I'm not the most informed fan out there. But I still have opinions (not knowing anything has never stopped me from having an opinion) which I share with the team. Not at the top of my lungs, like John, but more conversationally. (I love to point out that if the rest of the stadium would just shut up, the team could benefit from John's advice.) So when attending, oh, say, hockey games, I'm likely to say - not shout - things like "As this is a team sport, and your teammate is open, perhaps you should consider passing the puck to him."

David seems to find this a bit odd? entertaining? I dunno, but noteworthy anyway, and so he sent me this the other day in an e-mail that he titled "Head Coach Leta." And, you know, damned if it's not pretty much exactly what I would say. I mean, compare this random quote with the sample, supra, of my form of "cheering": Now, this is important. If he gives you the ball, run toward our goal and try not to get tackled.

22 January 2007

I don't shop enough

Well, Anton in Show Business is up and we didn't have a Sunday matinee, so, being me, I scheduled some stuff. I called David Saturday night (from the theater) to confirm plans:

"Okay, tomorrow I'm having brunch with Sally and Laura and then I'm seeing Jeff and Andy in I Hate Hamlet and then I'll come to your house and we'll go shopping for my new coat and then we'll clean the bathroom!" That "we'll clean the bathroom," actually meant that I would clean the bathroom, a consumption-free gift that I gave David just because he's my sweetie.

Instead of greeting my fabulous plan with cheerful agreement or offers to come to see the play with me or anything like that, David said* "Uhm, shopping after the play?"

"Yeah, sure. Is that okay?"

"I don't think anything will be open then."

"The malls aren't open until 9:00 on Sundays?"

"Not when it's not Christmas shopping season, no."

I opted to go to the play and then do the bathroom cleaning. It probably says something about me that I regard seeing a play as a higher priority than going shopping for a present for me. I just think that the something that it says may be a little odd.

As it turned out, we probably wouldn't have gone shopping anyway because it was snowing yesterday afternoon and the roads were unusually slippery and icy, which I discovered when I was about half way to the theater.

It rarely snows here when the temperature is below freezing, but we had a mix of snow and ice that was truly frightening and not made any better by the way that people in the DC area "drive" in the snow. At one point on my way to the theater, I was in an area where people were braking on up-hills. Yes. Braking. On inclines. You'd think they wanted to spend the afternoon getting me pulled out a ditch or something. The brakers-on-inclines were ahead of me and the don't-leave-enough-roomers were behind me. I've never been so frightened behind the wheel and I was actually shaking at one point.

So I went to see a play (which I enjoyed) and cleaned a bathroom. And, yes, I made sure to point out to Andy and Jeff that I chose seeing their play over shopping for a present for me. No point in risking of life and limb for community theater if you're not going to get any credit for it. And maybe a flower or two when they come to see my show...

* Note: As neither David nor I remember precisely what he said, I am making up his dialogue. So feel free to assume that he was more clever/less clever, nicer/meaner, soberer/drunker, or whatever than I have portrayed him herein.

15 January 2007

Betsy's scrapbooks

My cousin, Betsy, is a much better scrapbooker than I will ever be. (It should also be noted that she is a much better letter writer than I have ever been. I have a lovely, handwritten 2-page letter from her that has been in my "Oh, I should answer this" pile for years now. Right on top of things, aren't I?)

For the record, I should mention that Betsy has been Elizabeth for some time now, but I still think of her as Betsy.

Over the past couple of years she has taken old pictures of our grandparents and great-grandparents and made lovely on-line scrapbook pages for them. Using layouts, some that she creates herself and some that she gets from other scrapbookers, she frames the pictures and then adds her own memories or a quote or a discription of what the picture is all about, like her mother's first car, or a bit of family history like this picture of my grandparents, which made me laugh.

I love looking at old family photos, searching for resemblances, looking at the clothes. Family pictures are history made personal. I used to think that my Dad looked like his mother, but as I look at the pictures, I see more of his father in Daddy.

When my grandparents downsized before they moved out of the house they'd been in for about half a century into a little two-bedroom apartment (that was closer to town and easier to maintain) Gram would ask me what I wanted. I'd point to something, a picture, a side table, whatever, and was always told that Betsy had asked for it first.

This wasn't unreasonable; Betsy lived much closer and saw our grandparents more often that I, who was a thousand miles away, did. The only picture I have is this one, because Betsy copied it and sent it to me, had it gone the other way, I would have spent decades intending to copy and send it to her.

I love this picture because one doesn't often get to see one's grandmother looking like a glamour girl, but check out the bobbed hair*, the great shoes, and Gram's gams. If you look closely, you can even tell that she's wearing silk hose because nylons just don't have the same look. And that's genuine 1930 Alabama in the background. Eat your heart out, Barbara Stanwyck.

Of course, of all the pictures in the collection, the one that really catches my eye is the one of my grandparents as I knew them.

Betsy also has pictures of her adorable daughter, so I can see how my first-cousin-once-removed looks like her mother and grandmother. She even has Betsy's red hair, a family trait. Interestingly, She also looks like my red-haired friend, McCall. Maybe if we count back far enough, McCall and I are related...

I hope that over time, Betsy will scrapbook all the pictures because then we'll both have them. And I won't feel guilty about not sending her copies.

*I got my hair cut the other day and it looks remarklably like that picture right now.

12 January 2007

L my name is Leta

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

This actually came as a surprise to me. So far in my life (cue that Beatles song) I've met two people with my first name - one was the grandmother I'm named for - and I've heard of a couple of others, like Leta Armstrong, daughter of Heather "Dooce" Armstrong; and some nice lady in Simcoe-York in Ontario. Most Google returns for my name have to do with me, except, thank goodness, the ones that refer to cemetaries.

The "How Many of Me" site says that there are 11,999 people in the U.S. with my first name and that 99.9% of us Letas are female. So if one of y'all could name a child "Leta" it would push the Leta-colony up to 12,000 after which it would only be a matter of time before we hit that Top Ten Names thing that my sister, Sara, was always on and I was never on and maybe, just maybe, one could then find kid's bicycle licence plates and jewelry that said Leta which I never could when I was a kid and when it *mattered* to me NOT THAT I'M BITTER ABOUT THAT!!

When I was in college there were so many guys in Markland named John that they would huddle together and chant about how they were John, they were a colony creature. The Borg always kind of reminded me of the John Colony, come to think of it. But it's really hard to be a colony of one. An Army of one, sure, but a colony of one? You just look like some weirdo chantiing to herself and I get that enough already.

You know the real reason that more people aren't named Leta? It's because if one is named Leta one either has to work with engineers, who don't voluntarily read anything that doesn't have a diagram, or one has to spend one's entire adult life having this conversation:

Them: Leda? Like Leda and the Swan?
Me: No. Not like that at all.

Not to mention all the hours of my life I could have back that I've spent spelling and pronouncing my name to people.

Gakked from Shelly's Cyber Chocolate.

10 January 2007

Egg noggy goodness

Maureen and I are on the same off-topic list for G&S geeks, SavoyNot, wherein she asked the other day if one could cook or bake with egg nog.

Yes. Yes, one can.

(At this point, the screen should get that wavy thing going on that would happen in 60s and 70s sit-coms to indicate a flash back. If yours isn't doing that, check with your ISP and request the Flashback patch.)

Many years ago, when Brett and I were renting rooms from Chort, Stacey (Brett's sister) came to visit from Hawaii for Christmas. I hadn't met her before, but she seemed very nice and she put up with my mindless prattle and puppy-like friendliness, so we got along fine. Anyway, one morning I was making breakfast - muffins, scrambled eggs, probably bacon, the usual sort of weekend breakfast fare - and realized that we were out of milk. Thinking quickly, if not necessarily clearly, I figured that as egg nog is pretty much just gussied up milk, I could substitute it for the missing cow juice.

Stacey and I were the only ones up at that point and she was keeping me company while I cooked. (Being from Hawaii, she was also - if I remember correctly - quietly freezing.) She didn't raise any objections to the egg nog, so I figured it would be okay to use it.

In those days, Brett's description of how to make scrambled eggs was to break some eggs into a bowl, whisk in some milk, add this mixture to a pan with hot butter, and as the eggs were setting, start adding cheese. Keep adding cheese. Then maybe a little more cheese. This was not because Brett was such a huge fan of cheese (although who isn't?) but because he didn't much care for the taste of eggs.

So I made the egg noggy muffins and while they were in the oven, I made the egg noggy scrambled eggs. All of which tasted just fine to me, in fact, egg nog in muffins is really quite nice, especially if one likes a little zip of nutmeg in one's muffins.

Brett came downstairs and the three of us ate in companionable silence, largely because Brett was not Mr. Morning in those days and I would repress my normal chatter from some kind of sense of basic humanity. The aforementioned companionable silence was broken when Brett mentioned that the eggs had a rather --- odd --- taste and that he couldn't get that taste out of his mouth even when he followed it with some muffin.

At which point two things happened: Stacey started to smile pretty much exactly like the Grinch at the point in the story when he gets his wonderful, awful idea and I began cheerfully explaining my culinary stop-gap. I kept eating because, evidently, I like the taste of nutmeg in my eggs, but Brett put down his fork and decided that a Dr. Pepper would be breakfast enough that day.

It seems that while eggs are a dish best served hot, revenge is still a dish best served cold.

Some years before this particular breakfast, when Stacey, Brett, and their Dad all lived together each of them was responsible for making dinner every third day or so. One night Brett wanted to go hang out with his friends and was informed that until he had finished making dinner for his loving parent and adoring sister, he was a prisoner of the kitchen. So he finished making their dinners and fled.

When he returned, it was to find said parent and sister waiting for him in the living room with visions of mayhem dancing in their heads because their hamburgers contained - besides, ground beef, salt, and pepper - a fairly large portion of cinnamon. Brett claimed it was unintentional, but his family never really believed him and Stacey knew that time was on her side. Eventually fate would deliver vengeance into her hands. Vengeance, it seems, thy name is Leta. Or possibly egg nog, I'm not quite sure.

So, the short answer is yes, use the left over egg nog for anything that requires milk and will be improved with dash of nutmeg or allspice. For Brett's sake, perhaps it should be omitted from scambled eggs.