Wednesday, March 30, 2005
It's week six from the end. The hardest week of tour. Because up until this point you're committed for four months. And the end is nowhere in sight. It's just this nebulous amount of time. And then you're six weeks out. And suddenly you can see the finish line. And the honeymoon is over. And you have to love people by willpower instead of feelings.
One day it comes to you all of the things you miss about being settled. Internet. Bubble baths. Tea. A library of books that couldn't fit in a tupperware. Featherbed and down comforters. Going anywhere without taking into consideration thirteen other people. Driving your own car. Web surfing. And on and on for all of week six.
The job is routine. Tear down goes easily. The show is old hat, and as you pass the 20 mark and near show 30 you struggle to find new motivation for stale lines (No one is ever going to laugh at "Well, it's the good book.") and wonder in passing how they ever did 5,000 performances of Fiddler. You wake up and realize you don't know where you are, and you've forgotten the names of the people who drove you home. You frantically search for mail to fill out the thank you card.
Team relationships solidify. By now they've seen you at your worst, and in week six you don't much love yourself (am I really that whiney?) or anyone else (are THEY really that whiney?). But you know about them. And their aunt with cancer. Their cousin in a coma. The friend they pray for every day. The girlfriend who doesn't believe. The boyfriend that just became more. Struggles with parents and money and growing up and moving out and where-does-God-fit-into-it-all. So even when you want to blow everyone off and go home you can't, and really don't want to when you stop and think about it.
And then we'll be through it and week five will be upon us, and by week three the end will be looming and there won't be enough time to spend with people who for a short time were your family and will all be going separate ways. And then it will be the lasts. Last show. Last drive. Last song. Last homestay. Last trip. Last packing. Last flight. And life will go back to normal. And you'll realize how much you miss it all.
But all that's still to come. We still have to survive week six.
Oh I am so proud of me. I had my credit card all paid up from my car repairs (had to charge it to the card while I transferred money from my savings account in Tightwad, MO), but my balance showed 49.98. I thought I'd paid everything off within the grace period, so no interest should have accrued. And, being a little shaky on how quickly interest accrues anyway, I thought it sounded a bit high. But I didn't want to have it increase while I wasn't looking, so I opted to pay it off today.
But then I looked at my statement one last time before I paid it. My records are in too good of shape right now for it to be an oversight charge. So I went over it with a fine tooth comb. And voila! My movie rental store has continued to charge me for unlimited rentals in a state which I don't currently inhabit. So I called them. And I called the store. And their refunding the charges (in a long circuitous way) back to my card. So, for once, I didn't end up shelling out money needlessly because of a financial oversight on my part.
It feels very good. Ha.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Today was it. We woke at the crack of dawn, ok, 6:30, to pack, clean and be out by the time the maid arrived in "The Upper Rooms." And we took the Pacific Coast Highway - six of us squashed in the truck - to Manhattan beach.
It was a lovely drive. The sun has come out after two months of rain. Other than debris littered beaches and extraordinarily green hills there's no sign of the clouds that have covered the entire state for most of tour. The bouganvilia which hasn't bloomed yet in Santa Barbara County was out in full force by Malibu. And we found a one bedroom apartment. For Rent. $3,000 a month. I suppose if you worked two jobs and had a roommate you might have time to ... Listen to the ocean crash on the jetty (what is a jetty anyway?) on the way to your second shift.
Much rejoicing occurred upon the reuniting of the team. Thank God the other seven are back with us. One with much altered hair. Another with a new shiny ring on her finger, winning the best quote of the tour award ("Yessssss!!"In response to Bret's "Will you marry me?"). And we have our guys back! Oh the balance! Oh the logic! Oh the standing by and rolling their eyes as the girls one by one heard the engagement news and deafened overhead seagulls with the shrieks.
And then we got on the road again. The I-5. At 4pm. Bad planning, that. Four hours later we were forty miles down the road.
Minus a trailer. Because the brakes went out again. Which nicely puts us right back where we were before the break.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Chris: "The Ichaw Bird is massaging Chalingguy."
Aaron: "It's frightening, yet strangely comfortable."
Signpost: "Don't be a crab. Eat one."
Austen: "I like tanning. I like being brown. It gets me closer to black. Which helps when I rap."
Rachel: "I don't think this is a one-way street."
Julie: "I think you may be correct."
Rachel: "Mermaid Sushi. Does that sound sick to you?"
Aaron: "Is that like 'kind of' cannibalism?"
Rachel: "Depends. Top half or bottom."
Sam Myers (The coolest homestay ever. Builds windmills): "I don't like soy sauce. They's grasshoppers in Oklahoma. They's spit look like soy sauce."
Vicky: "There aren't enough words in the alphabet."
Vicky: "I have trust issues with people. I don't trust them."
Aaron: "Adam, they need your foo-foos."
Adam: "Half castle. Half mansion. It's a cansion."
Torrie: "I'm sorry I'm such a prayer monopolizer. I just love talking to you Jesus."
Vicky: "I turned pinker than a red thing."
Vicky: "My family is the funniest one I've ever had."
Rachel: "Vicky, you need to stop talking. You're monopolizing the quote book."
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Thai food with Wendy, lining up options for summer jobs, and then off to work.
Last night we watched Sleeping with the Enemy and tried not to wake the entire household with screaming in the scary parts (7 girls you know - we feed off each other). Good movie. Puts me in mind of What Lies Beneath. Similar ending in a way.
I'm off to work.
P.S. Tucson may have cheap rent, but it's blasted hot in the summer.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
We're in Solvang for the week. Finances prompted my calling the Alisal and asking if I could work. They're in the throws of Easter with their off-season staff, so they gave me six shifts this week. Part of me was a little disappointed that I won't get a break this week. Part of me really is relieved at a change of scene. It's been raining all week, and we've been indoors a good deal. The noise level keeps on rising...
For now there's seven of us in town. All the guys and two girls have gone off to various places. The "married couple" are back home putting their things into storage. Several hooked up with friends and family in California. And one flew home. So, I go to work, and the other six of us bum around doing touristy things. While I'm checking email and blogging, they're thrift shopping. I bought a Solvang patch the other day to add to my tourist jeans.
Yesterday was a torrential downpour, and I found myself bartending the golf lounge. No one was golfing, so I got paid to sit by the fire and read for the last three hours of my shift. Alone. And Quiet. It was lovely. I've read three Francine Rivers books I found at the church library (And the Shofar Blew, Redeeming Love, and Unashamed), and I'm working my way today back through Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers. It was the first Lord Peter book I read, and I'm enjoying the re-read.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Yesterday was the first official day of the Dinner Theater's Spring Break! Hurrah! We Drove from Lake Isabella to Solvang, (some of us by way of LAX) and then to Grandma and Ken's place for dinner with the purpose driven life group. I ran to the Alisal, talked to my managers, and picked up my uniform to work this evening. I'm not thrilled about working, but a woman has to do what she has to do. So tonight, I'm back to cocktail waitressing.
And I surprised the heck out of Wendy. I'd hoped to catch her at her house, but she walked in to pick up her silverware while I was talking with Ramiro. She screamed, then swore. I guess that means she's happy to see me... We're supposed to go for coffee today.
After dinner we went to the house that's hosting us. Unloaded. Tasha and I bought groceries. And then we played a zillion rounds of Phase 10. I won. Which was lovely because the last time I played I was stuck on phase 2 for 17 rounds.
And we watched a surf video of some guys 100 miles off the California coast surfing 66 foot swells in open water. Quote of the movie: "There's like a million seals out here. It's like a shark snack bar."
Just where I'd like to be paddling about imitating marine life.
And right before bed, when everything dissolved into the tired jollies, we had a pillow fight. The guys won. As usual.
I'm not dead. Almost though. Funny story that.
We took highway 155 to Lake Isabella. It's the scenic route. And a 13 degree grade on the downward side. First our brakes burned up on the trailer, then on the suburban hauling it, then the parking brake. And we were hurtling around hairpin curves in both lanes gaining speed.
The five of us in the sub checked our buckles and grabbed on. Under my breath, I began the confession from the Book of Common Prayer. Jonathan asked forgiveness for "that last corona." And then it was quiet. I was amazed, even then, that we weren't panicking. At all.
We don't know what stopped us. But we stopped. Somehow.
It was very sobering.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Sometimes the best homestays are ones where you stay alone, and both the hosts work all day. What did I do with my Monday? Watched TV and crocheted. What TV do you ask? Mostly old sitcoms, Mission Impossible, and some HGTV thrown in. I did the Sysco order, tried again (unsuccessfully) to track down my missing purse, and then went to a Yoga class with my homestay when she got off work. Then, after dinner, more TV. I haven't watched television (maybe once) since Christmas!
Monday, March 14, 2005
Yesterday was the technical show from hades. Mics didn't come on, some of us forgot to turn them on, light cues were all over the place, Liz was so worried about sound that some other things fell through the cracks. My lines can be summed up by: "pththththtb." Everyone seemed happy with the show, and tear down went 15 minutes faster than usual, but at the end of the show, all we could do was shrug.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
To all those who offered to pray for me this term:
Sorry you've had so little direct contact from me. My funds have been so limited, combined with a check card that was cancelled and reordered in January (Which arrived two days ago) and a purse lost a few weeks ago, my money is limited and access to it almost non-existant. All this to say, I can't afford to buy stamps. So, if you would mind letting me blog these, because I could use some prayer for a few things:
1. My eyes are still infected, I've been through a rather costly prescription to get rid of it, and it didn't work. Two days ago my glands started swelling. So, I'm not feeling so hot, and I'm getting tired of being onstage blind every night because I can't put my contacts in. Not only might I fall off the stage, and I can't see what anyone else is doing, so I'm reacting every night to nothing.
2. After tour I'm praying about taking another year off to finish paying off my debts. That was a huge goal of mine before coming on tour, and God has allowed me to keep up with most of it, but I've reached the end of my savings and need to take a break and finish. So far I'm feeling at peace about quitting for now, but I want to make sure it isn't just me making this decision.
3. Money while on tour. Wycliffe gives us an expense allowance, but it doesn't go very far. Our paychecks haven't been very regular (the last one was three weeks late due to confusion at the church office, and arrived the day before two automatic deposits came out of my account).
4. And the usual, patience and grace for my team working under me. Pray that I would "encourage the timid, help the weak, warn the idle, be patient with all..."
Last night the team, minus a couple, went to a Junior High youth group and spoke. First though, we had to play water balloon basketball, ending with the balloon getting caught in the net, Torrie climbing on Austen's shoulders to get it, and the balloon bursting all over both of them.
We introduced ourselves, and what we do on tour. The we led them in a few of our warm up exercizes, and a game of Zip Zap Zop. Torrie won the championship round. We demonstrated 'What are you Doing?' but didn't have time to play with the kids. Then Tasha modified her speech from the missions conference about the importance of drama ministry, plus a bit of the talk from the last school we talked at about the unreached people groups in the world. (It all fits on one hand. Spell thumb. T=tribal, H=Hindu, U=Unreligious, M=Muslim, B=Buddhist) Vanessa and I did a scene from the show about the difficulties of bible translation cross culturally. And then we ended with a bit of Q and A. I got to answer the question about who Wycliffe was, and where the current day Wycliffe started.
All in all the kids were really responsive. Squirly, but attentive. I'm glad we went.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Samaritan's Purse is doing an additional shoebox drop for those children and families affected by the Tsunami disaster.
" We need thousands of people to pray and pack shoe boxes for our special Easter collection of shoe box gifts for children left destitute by the tsunami. Even if you can’t prepare a box, please prayerfully consider
a financial gift to make this life-changing outreach possible. Shoe boxes need to shipped by April 4 to our international headquarters at 801 Bamboo Road, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607. To learn more, see the enclosed brochure, call 1-800-353-5949."
Twelve of us went yesterday. The church was cooperating with a mennonite organization to fill relief buckets with towels, toiletries, laundry soap and feminine hygene products. All were carefully crammed into 5 gallon buckets that can double to carry water.
It was really neat, and we were all blessed by the experience. Sometimes, as touring ministry, we can get so caught up in what WE are doing, we forget to look for ways to bless others outside the drama. And sometimes we can be selfish, too. These are OUR days off, and we have left our families, and our stuff, and gone on the road with pittance, and work 10 hour days of pretty hard labor, and then have to go back to a total stranger's house and entertain them when all we want to do is sleep and check email. I'm guilty. Last tour was very hard, and we did need our days off to recuperate. The tour before was similar to this one. We have 2 1/2 weeks more free days this tour. And last spring tour the group began praying for ways to volunteer to fill some of that. We really don't need this much time off. We certainly don't need to "rest from a hard week of shows" when we have three days off before, and two days off after each one.
So we are looking around. And praying for opportunities and keeping our ears open. And then this comes along, and we were all blessed by it. Most of us would have liked to volunteer more time, and several would like to go back sometime this week if we can. We don't have to meet for our show until 1.
The coolest quote from yesterday came from Jonathan, who hadn't been part of the original 11, but decided to tag along.
"I could have sat at home all day watching tv, or I could come and help someone."
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The Wycliffe Dinner theater, due to a two and a half week longer tour in the spring, and a few shows cancelled, have found ourselves with far too much time on our hands. And with limited finances (our daily expense allowance doesn't stretch very far), and shopping out of the question, we've decided to donate our time where we can.
Today we're going to our latest venue to help pack relief boxes.
The church secretary's jaw dropped when we asked if we could join.
People, homestays and family especially, keep asking why I don't just buy a new pair. Almost every week I spend a good portion of my days off mending tears, patching holes, and finding something to do about seams that are worn.
Two reasons I suppose: It gives me something creative to do, and it feels good to keep mending and patching instead of throwing things away as soon as they look worn.
One hundred years ago your average person didn't toss something just because it was out of style or missing a button. Faded clothes were turned inside out and remade. Styles were refreshed. Several ratty bonnets were ripped apart and turned into one nice, new one. Granted, clothes then were made to last and of better quality, but the principle is the same. Even though I can sew, I often get rid of things that don't fit, or sent to the thrift store clothing that has a small tear or a missing anything. But on tour I can't. Partly because I can't afford to get anything new - so I have to make do. And mostly because I put so much wear on my clothing, it seems silly to buy a new pair of clothes to half-destroy by the time tour is over.
So I'm going to keep tearing and mending the clothes I brought. It's fun. And my hand sewing skills are improving daily.
Monday, March 07, 2005
Today I played volleyball.
But the group was hanging out, and I wanted to be a part. So I brought a book and some crochet and watched happily from the sidelines. I'm not much for organized sports, and this one particularly has bad memories. My grandfather (well meaning, but very competative) kicked me off his volleyball team at the family reunion because I kept hitting it into the dirt. So I haven't even wanted to join in a game since.
But I watched, and nobody seemed to be taking the game seriously. And everyone was messing up now and then. And those that couldn't hit the ball consistantly were being encouraged by both sides. Seemed pretty safe to me.
So I borrowed a tank top from Jessica, tossed aside my flip flops, and took Johnny's place in the fourth game. Did I mention I was wearing a jean skirt? I hit the ball five times total, and dodged, shrinking a bunch. But three of my serves went right where I wanted. And I think I bumped it once. Then my wrist got tired, and I couldn't hit straight to save my soul. It went over though. Vanessa made some amazing dives. Once, she fell and Torrie dove right over the top of her. Tasha tried to be everywhere at once. Aaron hit more than his share for the other team. Merry and Pippin did well for themselves, when they weren't distracted by rims. Whatever the heck. Jules hit several lovely shots. Liz had the worlds most consistant serve. Jessica could pop the ball just barely over the net, so you would think it was on their side, and not even go for it. Angie had two great serves right at the end when they were needed. And Austen hit some nice ones, when he wasn't fighting for Tasha over the ball. "Mine! This one's mine. Touch the ball and I'll kill you. The next one's mine, too!"
Then we were down to the final ... whatever it's called. Round I suppose. And we were tied. 14-13, and my team was up. We volleyed a bit. It came to me, and I hit it over. And they missed it.
I won the game point.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
It makes me very sleepy on the off days.
Yesterday we went to Tasha's homestay and played Volleyball (I watched), then ordered Chinese takeout and played cards. Aaron and I played Speed, then Austen, Liz and Adam joined us for another game. Jonathan, Tasha, Angie and Torrie played Rummicubes. So a good day off was had by all.
It's going to be an odd week, though. We have one or two shows, then a day or two off from now until spring break. Tonight we begin the first of two shows. That means stage crew doesn't have to tear down tonight, but kitchen crew does our normal days work. Tomorrow will be work projects...
Thursday, March 03, 2005
In the play, there's a scene where Anne and Jo are learning how to speak Balangao. Tekla teaches them the parts of a loom, and then asks if Jo wants to try it. Anne eggs her on, and Jo weaves successfully for a moment, then makes hash of things.
A homestay a few days ago had a large pillow covered with thread and long spindles. She was making thread lace, a skill she'd learned in Belgium. She laid it on the floor, and demonstrated how to weave the two main threads back and forth across the others. Then she looked at me and said, "Would you like to try?" I looked at Angie, who grinned and nodded. "Ok." I picked up the threads and started weaving. Then it hit me. I was living the play. Line for line, nod for nod, grin for grin. So I looked at Angie and said "Cha'a manafar!" And we both laughed.
Only I didn't make hash of it...
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
I have never much liked Hugh Grant. Mostly that's because in every movie I'd ever seen he played the same character. Smug, cocky, hind-end-of-a-mule's-father. Rumor had it that not only does he play that character extremely well, it doesn't really count as acting in the strictest sense because he's merely accentuating his personality. Especially in Notting Hill. Can't recall why I loathed that movie, but it makes me shudder.
And then I saw Love Actually. Which is now one of my favorite movies. And Hugh Grant was likeable. In fact, he's adorable. Not as adorable as Colin Firth. Or the guy whose name I can never recall, yet I can remember that his character name in Star Wars was Qui Gon Jinn. You know, the Schindler's list guy. But cute, and not playing the hind-end-of-a-mule's-father. So I grudgingly thought about giving up my prejudice Hugh Grant-wards. And two weeks notice was cute enough, and I liked him in Sense and Sensibility.
So, when Jess told me I had to see this movie, I agreed. Though she excused herself from any responsibility of my actually liking Hugh Grant because his character was remarkably similar to that which I hate of him.
But it was a good flick. The kid needs a haircut, but I think that's the point. Because at the end when he's finally allowed to be 'normal' - instead of a lunatic who clearly stepped too close to an alpaca - he wears oversized clothes, baggy jeans, and his hair is swept back from his part as if to show that he's finally 'one of the guys.' This is, of course, a British film. Because an American film would have actually cut his hair. This one relied too heavily on the audience making the leap that they are merely "implying" a change. That's a stage trick, you know. Actually, I rather suspect that his real mother informed them that her son could have an obviously butchered bowl cut, but under no circumstances was he to have a Mohawk.
Toni Colette was very good. She plays slightly neurotic very well (For those of you who don't recall, she was Harriet in the Gwenneth Paltrow Emma, and she was the mother in the "I see dead people" movie). And his love interest was the heroine from The Mummy (I can remember her name, I just can't recall how to spell it, and it's too much trouble to look up).
So, assuming I'm not the only person on the planet who hadn't seen it yet, you might consider renting it. And for more supremely-messed-up family movies, you might consider Home for the Holidays. We watched it last night. Very strange.
by Dave Barry
1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
5. You should not confuse your career with your life.
6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. (I wish I had!)
7. Never lick a steak knife. (Or try to open a milk carton with one)
8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 21.
12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep own inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
13. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to a waiter, is not a nice erson. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
14. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.
Last night our homestay took us out to an excellent Chinese restaurant, where we ordered family-style for three. They brought enough food for six. The fried prawns were the best, really, though sweet and sour pork is a long time favorite.
I'm looking at possibly heading to Tucson for the summer. I know. What a gosh-awful place to be in August. But my boss from the last place is heading there, and maybe, when he gets settled in, I'll be able to get a job. I'm in the process of researching apartments. And found one right away that has a short term lease, and allows pets. After that, who knows. I've been thinking semi-seriously about Portland. Maybe I could land a job at Powells to cover my book habit. It would be interesting to see exactly how many states I can move to in a single year...
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
The sun finally emerged for two days, and Jessica and I made the most of it. Yesterday and today we sat on our homestay's front lawn with knitting, crochet, and a few good books and munchies. It was perfect. Except I think I may have a sunburned face...
So we cooked, set up the house, and a general contractor brought us three generators to run the sound and lights. And we did the show. With the constant beeping of something electrical telling us that there was no power. In case we hadn't got the memo. Two somethings actually, which beeped in and out of synch with each other all day. It was very distracting onstage to be in the middle of a narration and hear *beep beep* *beep beep beep beep* *beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep* Add to that a hearing aid that whistled and all my emotional monologues were out the window. Otherwise, it was a great show and a very receptive audience. The general dismay backstage was - how on earth are we going to tear down everything and wash dishes once we take down the lighting equipment.
By flashlight and Coleman lantern. The bathrooms had two candles apiece, and stage crew kept the lights up as long as possible. Then, 15 minutes before we loaded the trailers the power returned. And the people rejoiced...
The best part of the evening was finding out that enough money had been raised not only to cover our cost, but to help the missionaries of the evening refurbish a boat they will be taking to provide transportation of medical personnel and Bibles to a set of islands that are difficult to navigate.