Sunday, August 31, 2008
1. I changed the blog title after earning my black belt. I thought it was a subtle way to try to incorporate the three main things I talk about here. Black. Stage. Stitches. The black is probably a little obscure, but it works for me.
2. No, I have no suddenly become dissatisfied with my professional life. I still really like the original quote in the header - "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" - and think it is very much applicable to me. I've been using the new quote as a binder cover for my production calendar for the past year and a half, though. I see it on there every time I need to check a date or time. It really struck me, though, when I earned my black belt - I had attempted something that seemed absurdly out of my scope in every way and achieved something I never thought I could do. The new quote is a personal reminder to me to not be content with what I always do, even if it's good, and look into the "this could be ifs" instead. (ETA: The runner up quote was "All the world's a stage...and I'm calling my own damn cues!")
I hope that clears things up. Opening went well tonight, although we're all dead and doing a matinee and an understudy rehearsal tomorrow is not appealing in the slightest. (Insert standard understudy rehearsal rant here.) I did tell my kids (my ASMs, we have a running joke about me being Mom and they're my kids, although I drew the line at having the deck crew as grandkids) that if I was there, they had to be there, so now they're plotting ways of holding me hostage so I can't go into work. The latest plot that I know of involves something with zip ties and tugboats. I'm curious now. (This is what happens when you have three stage managers in a tiny office after the second show of the day on the Saturday after tech. It's a bad, bad situation!)
Btw, it's not unusual, in fact, I've come to expect, dreams about the show during tech weeks. Normally they're just the show itself, with something weird or odd going on that I have to deal with - trying to do The Sound of Music in a different theater, for example. Last night, however, I had a dream that one of my ASMs, my ALD, and myself were running a halftime show at a little Khorey League-type baseball field (yes, I know, baseball doesn't have halftimes, your guess is as good as mine). Afterwards, we went to this sports tourist shop. It turns out that this shop was in my house (um, mansion), and when my ASM went to buy something, I told the cashier to put it on my tab because I was Mrs. Roarke. (Sadly, Roarke himself never showed up...) Clearly, running a zany musical comedy, checking baseball scores, and having a J.D. Robb book on the nightstand creates some weird subconscious realities after a 60+ hour week...
Saturday, August 30, 2008
We're opening Hot Mikado Saturday night (tomorrow for me, since I haven't slept yet). It's wicked fun and I'm really proud of it. Production photos are up here. Our set is like a page out of a giant coloring book. I love it! We had our first real audience tonight, and they made it clear they had a good time from the very beginning, which was awesome. It's pretty rewarding to see that the two 15+ hour days and the two 13+ hour days I've put in so far this week haven't been completely in vain. Now just two more 12 hour days to go and then we get a well-deserved day off. Oh yeah, and we teched the entire show in less than nine hours. Coulda knocked me over with a feather! And, can I just say, my ASMs rock. Not only are they good at their jobs, but they are also people I enjoy being around, even after a 15 hour day. It's nice on so many levels! I'm definitely buying them drinks tomorrow night!
Let's see. I don't have class this Monday because of Labor Day, but I was able to talk Chrissy into letting me have Tuesday evening off from callbacks, so I can at least go to FIGHT this coming week. I finished my form this past Monday, and Sir said he'd start teaching me my weapons next time I'm in class. (I REALLY hate being back down to one night a week!!!!) He also said he'd look at his schedule and see if there are any times during the day that he might be able to come and "just happen" to unlock the door for me so I can have somewhere to work on my forms. The new class schedule there starts Tuesday, so we have to wait for that to settle in with everyone first, but he said it should be possible. There are two kind of big changes. The first is that sparring is back in the dojahng on Friday nights now. The second is that sparring is later on Friday nights than before because they are adding in an aikido class on that day! Gil, who is a black belt in it, will be teaching it. I'm excited, even though I can't start it until November.
There's a fight at the casino near the end of September, too, that I know people are going to (at least Mel and Ma'am are going). I can't make the fight, as I have a show in Solvang that night, but we're hoping to meet up for drinks or something afterwards. Should be fun. I went into the dojahng over dinner the other day to deal with some contract stuff, and ended up talking to Mel for about twenty minutes instead of eating. Oops...
I did not get the rest of my Olympic knitting completed. I still have about an inch and a half on the sock leg, and haven't gotten to touch the Tumbling Blocks scarf. Tech kind of got in the way of that. Again with that work thing being really inconvenient!
Have not gone out with Cute Guy pretty much since July. We keep saying we need to go out again, but it just hasn't worked out. He's going to be working on some other shows in the area for a while after this one ends, though, so there might be a possibility. I kind of think that's probably pretty much done now, though. We'll see.
Anyway, I'm out to try to get a decent amount of sleep and still wake up early enough to grab a rehearsal room before tech to work on forms, if one is open. I haven't gotten to all week because of my own rehearsals and classes, and I REALLY need to! Two weeks out of tkd class is two weeks too many!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I don't want to be totally gone again for the next two months just as I've gotten back into the routine, mostly because I know myself and I have a really hard time working on forms on my own because it's such a hassle to find space to do it. I might ask if there is a time I could come in either for a private lesson, or just come in and work on my own. I doubt there is too much free time, and the private lessons can add up quick, but it'd be really awesome to have just one extra day in there a week. Particularly since I'm not only giving up half of my tkd and kickboxing, but also all of my haganah for the next two months. NOT a fan! (Frank swore tonight that if I wasn't going to be there, he wasn't going to come in either - "I don't like the new girl. She doesn't hit very hard!" She JUST started this week, and I assured him that she was in kickboxing too and we'd whip her into shape soon enough if she stuck with it.)
I did strike a deal with Chrissy, though. If our evil plot goes as planned, which I'm pretty sure it will, as our interns rock so far, I will call all of the Thursday morning brat mats for the run of White Christmas. In return for letting her sleep in and save on gas, she'll call all of the Friday night performances. Which means...once that show opens, I can go to class five nights a week AND to Klondike's after sparring on Fridays! Muha! She wanted to know why I wanted Friday nights off, if I had a hot date or anything. Yup! With my sparring gear, a hot pizza, and a cold beer!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Pattern from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits. Yarn is Caron Simply Soft (100% acrylic) in Berry Blue. I like it, although if I made it again, I'd add another inch before starting the ribbing on the body. I haven't worn it other than to try it on yet, it's a tad heavy for the weather right now, but I'm hoping to soon! I think with a good bra the body will fit fine, but we'll see.
My new sweater was followed a few days later with...the dropped lace stitch scarf.
Pattern by Dee Jones for Mountain Colors. Yarn is Mountain Colors Twizzle (85% wool, 15% silk) in Sweet Pea. The picture doesn't show off the stitch pattern very well at all, but actually this was a pretty quick knit - worsted weight yarn on US 10 needles. I just put it down for a few months at a time. I really cannot say how much I love this yarn, though! It was so soft and squishy to work with, and got even softer after washing and blocking. Fabulous! Can't wait to wear this scarf! (Okay, so actually, I didn't wait - it wasn't completely dry, but I took it to rehearsal Saturday so I could finish unravelling the dropped stitches. It was just a bit damp, but good enough!)
Next up is the second of the Wendelin socks. I did end up frogging the heel (again), and when I went to re-knit it, I realized that the reason I'd made such crazy mistakes with it was because I'd started doing one type of heel then switched for some reason to another type halfway through it. Short row and gusset heels don't mix well. At least, not the way I was trying to combine them! Now all is back on track, though, and if I did nothing but knit tomorrow, I could probably finish it then. I probably won't, but it's possible.
Last up, and the one that will definitely take up the most time, is going to be the Tumbling Blocks Scarf. Cashmere laceweight is heaven to touch, but does not knit up particularly quickly on US 4 bamboo needles. I really don't like the needles, btw, but I'm a bit worried that if I change to my favored Options, my gauge will change too noticeably. Plus, cashmere and slick metal don't sound like a good combination. I kind of wish I had a Harmony wood needle for it, but oh well. I'll make do.
And, remember how excited I was about these guys? Well, that particular pattern just so happened to be in my mailbox the other day! Thanks, Mom! It's taking a lot of willpower to not make one immediately, but I don't have quite enough black and white feltable yarns right now, which forces me to be good and finish my other projects first. They're awfully darn cute, though!
I did get to help with Day in the Park today for a few hours before rehearsal. It was fun. Mr. R led some of the Leadership kids in a short demo, and then we had a booth where kids could come and learn to punch and do an easy board break. I mostly watched Sir, Mr. R and Ma'am work with the kids and help keep equipment organized while I was there, but it was still fun. I got to spend a tiny bit of time with Mrs. S again, which was nice. She seems pleased that I'm hoping to get reinvolved with kickboxing, and encouraged me to watch and learn from the instructors this morning, although I did get a "Well, I'm pretty sure I've seen YOU there on Mondays and Wednesdays, too," from Ma'am at one point when I was trying to decide if a kid was really interested in trying out a board or not and asked her to go talk to him.
Ma'am and I saw a gorgeous dog there today, too - calm, friendly, completely gentle, five months old, and paws the size of salad plates. Purebred Great Pyranees. Beautiful coloring, and literally sat almost to my waist. At five months! That's going to be one HUGE dog someday! Just from a brief interaction with him, I'd say they have the intelligence and friendliness of Labs and Goldens, but just don't really feel the need to get excited about much of anything, not even retrieving or running. I guess when you're that size, there's not much to get excited about!
Friday, August 15, 2008
I've also hit the halfway point in learning my new regular form. The form isn't really all THAT much longer than any of my previous forms (81 moves), but Sir (who was back in class Wednesday night) and Mr. R have only been adding five or six moves, if that, per class. It's definitely the slowest pace I've ever gone on formwork, and it's taking some getting used to. I'm used to having to learn an entire form and get it to testing level in eight or nine weeks, which means that normally at this point I'd've learned the whole thing and would be starting to clean it up, really drilling stances and chambers and that sort of thing. It's like we've suddenly hit the brakes and the new pace is throwing me just a little. My life runs in rush mode; bad habits are hard to break.
We are going to keep up with the instructor class being half colorbelt forms and training drills, and the other half is going to be our (Ma'am, Mr. R, and Jorge, another second degree) time to work on our own forms and drills. (I also work on my new form during regular class, but I don't get anything new added to it until later in instructor class. Sometimes I help the lower belts with their forms and other black belts with the self defense in regular class, too.) We go a little longer at night now, but I like it. It's neat and kind of inspiring to see the teachers learning new things. Apparently I can do all the colorbelt forms just fine, unless Sir is in the room. I was nailing them with Mr. R, Ma'am and Jorge, but Sir comes back and I got stuck in both the camo form AND the green belt form. Bah! I am, however, actually helping out with a Day in the Park kids' event on Sunday morning, which I think will be fun. I'm a little nervous about it, though. I think it will be Sir, Mrs. S, Mr. R, Ma'am, and me, and I'm DEFINITELY the lowest and most inexperienced out of that bunch. But, on the other hand, how am going to learn if I just stay in class the whole time? I just hope I'm at least useful to them.
I did get to go to kickboxing on Monday (the routine hasn't changed that much) and my hamstrings kept reminding me of it on Tuesday. It was really nice to get back into the swing of it, but it was a little hard to realize that I'm not in the shape that I need to be in order to do that classload. I did want to make it again on Thursday (Wednesday is just too soon after rehearsal), but I got stuck at work with new interns and was only able to make it to FIGHT - just in time to get more bruises on my arms from knife sparring. Shane has really sharp fingernails, btw. I know. He dug them into my wrist and I still have the marks today!
Anyway, meeting for Midsummer tomorrow morning and then lunch with Cute Guy and the girl who is taking over his internship for this coming year before rehearsal tomorrow. Might go see Ragtime tomorrow night with her, too.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Anyway, I love the Olympics. Sports (well, except basketball, which I still think is boring to watch) that I'd never THINK about watching before are suddenly fascinating. I've watched swimming (of course), badminton, equestrian something, men's and women's volleyball, boxing, men's gymnastics, fencing, and even a judo match. So cool! Of course, I want to try to see a tkd match, but they are next week and being broadcast online at strange hours. And I could talk about how cool the Opening Ceremonies were for hours. The "artistic" portion was just plain jaw-dropping, the Parade of Nations was really interesting and educational (I didn't know the Chinese didn't have a set alphabet!), and the lighting of the torch...well...just go to NBC Olympics and watch it for yourself. (Btw, can I just say that I LOVE the design of the Cauldron this year! It's gorgeous!)
Anyway, I'm not doing any of the formal knitting-related Olympics KALs, but I've decided that the Olympics are for my four UFOs: the Boatneck Bluebell Sweater, the second Wendelin Sock, the Dropped Stitch Scarf, and the Tumbling Blocks scarf. Just before the Ceremony started on Friday, I was getting everything ready, found my place in the pattern for the BB sweater, counted stitches, and realized I was four stitches short. I don't know how I got to be four stitches short (well, obviously I decreased four times but I don't know where), but it was correct on the other sleeve (the ribbing columns make it easy to count), so I had to frog back and fix it. Now I'm pretty close to being finished with the stockinette portion of the sleeve and then just have the cuff to do, seam it, and be done.
It's been really tempting to knit on either the sock or the Tumbling Blocks scarf during rehearsals, as we've been doing tons of choreography this week (one of the bad/good things about heavy dance shows is doing choreography overandoverandoverandoverandover) and the director is a knitter herself, but I haven't yet. I might check in with her about it today, though, since we aren't doing ANYTHING new, just cleaning. This show is going to be awesome, though - if you love to watch swing dancing, or just guys dancing, this is your show. The first eight numbers are ALL guys, then we add the girls in and swing for a while longer. It's pretty cool, although I'm going to have to build in lift calls before the performances for this one. First time in about two years we've had a show with mandatory daily lift calls and warmups.
I did get a sort-of answer to my ponderings about my board breaks in class, too. I had been under the impression that once I chose my options, I was stuck with them until my next test. Mr. R explained the other night after FIGHT that I could try different options as much as I wanted and figure out what I like best. Yay! And I didn't make it to kickboxing last week, but I'm going to tomorrow. I made the mistake of making brownies the other day, then we had an Opening last night with lots of food and alcohol, and I haven't done anything since Thursday night, so I'm going to need to burn off some empty calories! I am going to stay after rehearsal today and work on forms, though, as I need to have brown belt (my assigned form) down cold for tomorrow night.
We've had a bunch of new white belts in the adult class lately (two young teens, an older teen, and two new women older than I), and I worked with one, Chad, the older teen, Monday night. I remembered how I felt when I was a white belt working with a black belt, and since he seemed to be fairly intelligent for a high school boy and asked questions, I did a lot of explaining and demonstrating that day, but didn't really think anything about it. Apparently it made an impression on him, though - Thursday before FIGHT I was stopped by a gentleman coming off the mat from kickboxing class:
Him: "Hi...do you remember Chad? He's new in the taekwondo class?"
Me: "Oh sure. I worked with him the other night. [me realizing that this is probably a parent, turns out he was the stepdad] He seems to be a good kid."
Him: "Yeah, he is. He's been talking about you all week. He said that you were really great to work with - that you knew what you were doing and helped him out a lot...[him realizing what class is next] Do you do this, too?!"
Me: "Yeah. In a really good week, I'll do the kickboxing class, as well."
Him: "Geez...no wonder you know what you're doing!"
I looked around to make sure Mr. R wasn't listening, leaned over, and told him the truth - "I just have really great instructors!" He laughed. I made to shake his hand:
Him: "I'm [I don't remember his name, sorry]."
Me: "Nice to meet you. I'm..."
Him: "Katie. I know."
The whole conversation kind of threw me a little - Mr. R teased me that Chad has a teenboy crush on me - but I don't generally expect total strangers to know me, or to compliment me like that. And then I slapped myself upside the head. I'm in instructor class, this is what I'm training to do - to help other people learn what I've learned so far. Obviously white belts aren't the only ones learning something!
Ooo...beach volleyball now!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Your dominant hues are red and green, so you're definately not afraid to get in and stir things up. You have no time for most people's concerns, you'd rather analyze with your head than be held back by some random "gut feeling".
Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.
Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
Totally stolen from Inky. Most of it is right, except for the whole not listening to people's concerns or my gut feelings. I can't honestly claim that, seeing as how the biggest decisions of my life, so far at least, have been along the lines of "this feels right" even when I had no real rational reason to think so. And listening to people's concerns and making them work is kind of what I do...
Anyway, picked up the sweater again the other day and am starting the increases for the final third of the sleeve. After that, I have several inches of stockinette still, but my plan for Friday night is to curl up on the couch and watch the Opening Ceremonies, and I figure that will be a good time to knock that out and finish knitting the darn thing. (I STILL can't figure out why I didn't knit the darn sleeves in the round. Stupid me and actually following the pattern when everything in me is saying "You HATE knitting sleeves flat and seaming them! You know how to adjust the pattern, just do it!" I need to listen to me more often, apparently.) I also worked on the sock the other night during the show - oh yeah, I've been deck crew for the past three performances of Ragtime, due to a crew member getting bit by a spider! Luckily, I got out of it tonight - and when I got home found the most godawful hole that I've ever made picking up gusset stitches. So now I'm debating whether or not I can live with it or just bite the bullet and frog it back. (Probably the latter, but I haven't quite worked up to that yet.)
I have a couple of ideas for some Christmas presents, not counting Chrissy's, but am not 100% sure I can pull them off. Someday when I have free time (yeah, right) I'm going to sit down with a stitch dictionary and see if I can chart out what is in my head. I know I can do all of the techniques, it's just putting them together by myself that is a little daunting.
Class stuff behind the cut. I didn't think I had anything to say, but apparently I did.
Class tonight was fun. Instructor class has been far more interesting than regular class now that all of us are black belts. At least while Sir is still on vacation, it's kind of been more of just a black belt class - that's where I've been really learning my new form, and we've been going through all of the self-defenses again. We've been working on the color belt forms, too, but Mr. R's been doing it a little differently, and I, for one, really like it. Monday night, he assigned each of us specific forms to bring in for tonight. Tonight, we each led our assigned forms and then got assigned new ones for next Monday. It's a little like homework, but I'm remembering and focusing better this way. I wonder if that is something the Mr. R just does or if Sir asked him to start it while he was gone. I hope the latter, because I like it.
Mr. H came in tonight to help Mr. R out with the adult class, and before we got started he asked me why I wasn't an instructor yet. I've only had my belt for ten days, geez! And I still have to get completely solid on form memorization (I still tend to blank easily, even though I can do them almost fine when I'm not leading them) and I have almost no weapons training whatsoever. I kind of feel like I was holding the rest of the class back, but I can't imagine trying to start re-learning color belt forms now. I think going back and trying to learn eight or nine forms again while trying to learn this new form would make my head explode. The black belt forms start breaking habits that you learn with the color belt forms (like aiming before you punch, and telegraphing what hand strike is next during the chambers), so it's almost like having to learn basic techniques all over again.
I also have to figure out what I want to do for my board breaks now. I have the options of any hammerfist, knifehand strike, elbow strike, or palm heel for the hand technique, and a jump side kick over two obstacles (yeah, I will NOT be doing that one, seeing as how it's my favorite break and all and adding obstacles just doesn't sound like a real good idea), a jump reverse side kick, or a spin hook kick for my foot technique. Mr. R said technically I could do palm heel strikes until kingdom come if I wanted to, but somehow I suspect Sir would want me to do something different this time around. (The exact phrase that sprang to my mind was "He'd tell me to grow up and learn something," which Mr. R agreed with wholeheartedly.) Knifehand strikes and I don't get along very well, either, but I was always pretty good with elbow strikes. I've never actually had to do a hammerfist break of any kind, but they seem like fun, too. I'll have to think about this. I have at least a year to learn. Do I want to challenge myself and try techniques that I find scary, or go with ones I am already more powerful with? Hmm...I have to have at least an idea of what I want to do by Monday so we can work on it in instructor class. This will take some thought...
I might try to do kickboxing before FIGHT tomorrow. I got a new sleeve-style brace that I actually REALLY like a lot. We'll see!
Monday, August 04, 2008
First, our resident LD left for grad school in Boston this weekend. He and I weren't especially close, but were friends all the same and we worked pretty well together. Then, our TD, Steve (yes, THAT Steve, my ex), left the next day for grad school in New Haven. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to him, due to the craziness of work this week, and I regret that. (Although, in all fairness, I have no idea what I'd say to him. I really hope that Yale keeps him busy and it's everything he was hoping for!) Then our recent SM grad, who was also my ASM for the Solvang run of Godspell (we decided it was fitting that she did her first show here, Dames At Sea, and her last show here with me), moved down to Fullerton today to finish her undergrad, and stopped in rehearsal yesterday to say goodbye. It's getting to be that time of year again, I guess. I made her a pink hedgehog =)
I was supposed to go down to LA today and stay through Wednesday working on shows for John, but Saturday one of the Ragtime crew was admitted to the ER with a possibly infected spider bite, so Trey (one of my Mikado ASMs and will be a year-long intern) and I had to cover her track all weekend, plus do my own rehearsals. She has to go back in "to have another procedure" on Tuesday, so we're not expecting her to be able to run her track for Tuesday or Wednesday's performances either. John is understandably NOT happy with me right now, but it actually does take two people to cover her track when neither of them are particularly familiar with the backstage of this insanely crazy show, and frankly, PCPA has the much stronger claim on my time, as that salary pays my bills and rent. Plus the idea of driving three hours each way and adding yet another show into my brain and working almost three weeks straight without a day off kind of made my head explode, particularly after doing back to back 14 hour days here.
The good thing is that now I can go to class tonight and not miss an entire week of tkd, so I'm not really broken hearted about not going to LA. I know about the first dozen or so moves of my new form now! Sir said he wants me to get at least to midterming point with my regular form before starting weapons, but he'll let me do single bahng mahng ee first, which I'm excited about. I might even go to kickboxing today. We'll see. Sir and Mrs. S are on vacation for a few weeks, so it will be Morgan teaching FIGHT and probably Mr. R and Ma'am teaching tkd. I think Gil, the guy I mentioned in my last post, is teaching kickboxing, since I haven't been able to be there regularly in about two months and I'm sure he knows the current routine better than I do! I want to start getting back into kickboxing, but it's just at that perfect time of the day, where if everything goes right, I can make it, but if someone needs me for five extra minutes, I can't. I'm also still a little concerned about my elbow. I did classes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday last week (I can't make sparring on Fridays at all, as they start at 5:00p and I'm in rehearsal until then), and it was....okay. The guys got a little rough on Thursday, and Morgan seems to have a love affair going with pushups and planks, which I agree I need to work on, but really hurt after the first two sets. We're also doing a lot of blocking and choreography in rehearsal right now, so I'm writing for almost four hours straight, which doesn't help the ligaments, according to the doc. I think kickboxing aggravates it more than the others because of the last ten minutes or so, which is usually medicine balls and floor work on hands and knees. I kind of feel like I should be involved with it again, though. I'll try it tonight and see how it goes. It would be great to at least do it on Thursdays before FIGHT.
In fibery news, I mentioned earlier that I did make another hedgehog. I purposely didn't felt this one quite as small because I wanted it to be a little more huggy. Still working on the crocheted Log Cabin, and realized today that if I just sat and worked on it, I'd be finished knitting the Boatneck Bluebell sweater really quickly. I just have about a third of a sleeve left to do and then seam them up. (WHY didn't I do the sleeves in the round?? WHY?) I'm kind of in a blah knitting place right now. Nothing is particularly interesting or inspiring to me. The new Mystery Stole signups are open, but as last year's is still languishing in my WIP basket, I probably shouldn't start a new one. I finished the heel on the second Wendelin sock about a week and a half ago now and haven't picked it back up since. Chrissy says she really really really wants a Lady Eleanor "like mine" for Christmas, and I saw a yarn at Michael's (I think a Patons) that I think would work really well for her, and is far cheaper than Noro (which I never want to work with again, although I do have to admit my stole is gorgeously painted), but I also found another stole pattern a few weeks ago that just screams Chrissy to me. I haven't seen a yarn or beads for it that I really like yet, though, and I can't decide which pattern to go with, the one I KNOW she likes because she keeps stealing mine, or one that's different that I'm pretty sure she'll like? I need to get something like that started fairly soon. It IS August now, after all...
Now, because I randomly woke up at 6:30a for no reason on my day off, I'm going back to bed.