Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Music and Drama

I must admit I do really enjoy musical theater. The first show I ever saw was Cats in San Francisco as a young teen. I was overwhelmed by the creativity, poetry, silliness and the vocal talent.

Then, in college, I saw Les Miserables in London. I was transfixed by the power of the simple revolving stage, the story, the music. I got a tshirt and wore it until it hung in rags. I went out and bought and read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. The unabridged version (over 1,200 pages). I tortured my family and friends by singing along with the soundtrack. And it was torture because I really couldn't (and still can't) sing at all.

My first date with my husband was at the theater where we saw West Side Story. We had season tickets for nineteen years, until our local theater company recently went BK and took our season renewal fees, donations, and 2nd row center seats down with it. For various reasons, we have not renewed with the new theater company.

We have more than enough music and drama in our house to make up for the lack of seeing it on the stage. Even though my house is all boys, there is some drama once in a while, even if I have to provide it myself. In fact just now I had to yell at all three boys to turn their music down. They are all listening and singing to different music on their computers, at the same time. Doesn't bother them at all but drives me crazy.

I remember vividly being pregnant and sitting and watching a show about ten years ago. I don't remember the show but I remember how the baby inside me seemed to be doing a whole dance and song number along with the performers. It was so fascinating and distracting that I couldn't watch the show on the stage.

Now that baby is close to ten years old and is going to be in a musical! After so many years of being completely immersed in sports, I never really considered the possibility of being a stage mom. Yet here I am. My youngest happily spent the day of Little League try-outs at a rehearsal for the show Once Upon A Mattress, in which he plays an Honorable Knight.

With a little encouragement (or was that a shove?) from a few people who know my son well, we decided to have him audition in early January. Although the audition was arduous and confusing and long, especially for those who have never been through it, my son got in front of that audience of judges and just shined. He loved it. And his brothers got to see him get up there and do something that they would never do. It was all worth it just for the audition. He even got a call-back. We weren't even sure what that was.

We are lucky to have the nationally recognized Children's Musical Theater in our area, where every child who auditions get a part in the performance. My son is going to rehearsals and just soaking it all up, learning how being a part of a production works. So far he loves it.

I am excited too because the parent volunteer opportunities (uh, I mean requirements) are way more fun than keeping score at the Little League games. So whether this is just one show or the first of many, I am enjoying my stint as a proud stage mom.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Catching Up #5, Turbo Mode

My caffeine buzz is seriously wearing off. I have to at least get to the New Year.

The day after Christmas, I took the boys and fled to Southern California for a little adventure. We left my husband at home to deal with long depressing days at work and the dog. I know it sounds mean but he really did need time alone to get some important work done and I really needed to do something fun with the kids.

We drove down Highway 101, stopping in Santa Barbara to visit friends and break up the drive. The next day we continued south to Carlsbad to visit my dear friend and college roommate and her husband. Their child is Racine, a field lab that my children think of as a cousin.

It was a visit of dog sleepovers, knitting, catching up, getting soaked at SeaWorld, skimboarding at Laguna, seeing Avatar, sharing laughs and drinks, and the quintessential New Years experience: tuna casserole and champagne, and everyone sound asleep by the time midnight struck. Oh yes and I cannot forget to mention the badminton game and the sighting of the largest monster truck ever (built on a semi truck chassis) in Pismo on the way home.

My middle son, the most fashion-conscious of the trio at the moment, wore his new plaid flannel shirt every single day of this trip. I also wore the same thing every day of the trip due not to fashion but a critical packing failure. The failure was that I forgot to pack my clothes. So I wore the same jeans every day and was really not happy when I went on a ride at SeaWorld and unexpectedly got completely drenched by freezing cold water. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of that.

We came home happy and with a new recipe the boys can make: Victor's traditional cheesy tuna casserole.

Catching Up #4, Turbo Mode

Christmas Day was a quiet little affair at home. The boys spent the day in their pajamas building legos.

I cooked breakfast and we had a friend over who understood and embraced the pajama spirit of the day. Then my husband got dressed and left for the airport and his aunt's funeral. Once he left, I decided Christmas was over and packed up almost all the Christmas decorations. It was easy because I never got around to putting any ornaments on the sad little fake tree. The fact that I had a naked tree bothered my mother immensely but went unnoticed by my boys and husband. Little did I know that the tree would still be hanging around a full month after Christmas, not quite put away. I think my husband was so empowered by throwing away our old fake tree with the light issues that he wants to toss this one too.

Here my husband poses with Janice, our friend, my fellow book club member and pajama breakfast guest. I hope she doesn't kill me for posting this picture. As you can see, my husband got his black dress shoes back from our middle son (see update #2).

Catching up #3, Turbo Mode

Christmas Eve was at my parents' house. Nineteen people and five dogs. It was a blast. My newly-minted teenager was promoted by my mother from the kid's table to the adult table.

You know it's a fun party when my mom starts the evening posing for a kiss by the tree . . .

. . . and ends the evening sitting in the dog bed.

Catching up #2, Turbo Mode

My middle and youngest sons, sixth grade and fourth grade, after they performed in the Winter Concert at their school. Aren't they so handsome?

Outfitting my oldest turned into a shopping ordeal. I looked everywhere for size 14 black pants with zero luck and finally had to order them online and have them priority shipped. They arrived hours before the performance. They barely fit.

My middle son is no longer in boy sizes, a realization that shocked me and left me wondering "Where the heck do I buy clothes for him now?" I was to find the answer several weeks later: In one of several stores with very dim lighting, very loud music, and a very small boys/mens selection, guaranteed to fray your patience and cause a headache.

Oh, and my middle son did not have any black shoes either. I was not prepared to buy a pair that would fit him for about 5 minutes. We discovered that my husband's shoes fit him perfectly. And he finds them very nice and comfortable. Which I am not sure was so thrilling for my husband. I was secretly very glad at that moment to have all boys, knowing my shoes are all safe in my closet.

Catching up #1, Turbo Mode

My, my, I have catching up to do. I have treated myself to a rare cup of caffeine and will attempt to update my dear blog readers in turbo mode.

Below is a picture of my oldest son on his 13th birthday in December. We celebrated with dinner at Benihana's with chopsticks, laughter and flying food and sharp knives. And the Rubik's cube, which has rarely been out of my son's hands since then except for when he lost it in plain view in the living room.

Always wanting to be part of the action, my youngest decides to wear the packaging from the Rubik's cube and ham it up. As you can see his older brother thinks he is a huge annoyance.