Monday, December 21, 2009

Invisible (12/14/09)

The Andalusia Ballet has just finished with this season's edition of The Nutcracker. For the past five years I have been working on ballet performances I began playing music during the last week of rehearsals and  working backstage during the performance, but with the coming of the new sound and light boards to the control booth, I was shifted to the control booth even during performances. Although I like backstage work better, the humorous, "do your best and leave the rest:" atmosphere of the control booth is much more pleasant than the scuffling backstage intensity. Example:
Stage Manager: Wait! Marzipan is BEFORE Gingersnaps?!!
Ballet Mistress: Yes.
Lights and Sound Guy: It's been like that since the 1800's. Except for that year she [the Ballet Mistress] swapped it because of a quick-change.

My role in either position, however has really not been very different. A stage hand should not be seen or heard, in fact, it should be perfectly invisible. If a stage hand is noticed at all, either by presence or absence, then that person has failed. The epitome of perfection is to be absolutely undetectable, except, perhaps, by directors or other stagehands.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Roses are red...

And very hard to grow. The Glory of the Garden, and the triumph of successful gardeners.
In the front garden of our "base camp" we have two kinds of roses. One is a hearty, indigenous variety. It makes cute fluffy little pink roses in the spring and all through the summer. Nothing really hurts it and it is capable of growing about twenty feet in a year. Literally. We know because we tried really hard to get rid of it. We dug it up and dumped it on the dirt bank across the road three years in a row. There are now cute little fluffy roses the entire length of our road, and we still have the mother plant in our front garden.
The other rose plant is much more delicate. We planted it, pruned it, fed it banana peels, carried water to it, coated it with organic bug repellent and generally gave it everything that it might need. We've had a few pretty flowers from it, but more often than not the buds come to grief somehow or other.
Until now. We came home after three months to find a little bud, which has bloomed into a most magnificent rose. I wonder if that indicates anything about our gardening skills?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Fowl Post

Yesterday, after wandering forlornly about the house for a while, walking two miles in the rain to make the dog happy and wishing that town was a nine mile round trip instead of eighteen, I decided to do something about the box of hollow eggshells that has been sitting on a shelf for about two years. The eggshells were waiting to be stuffed full of confetti and painted, so that they could fulfill their mission in life: being busted over some unsuspecting person's head.
I shredded some brightly colored newspaper pages into confetti and picked up an eggshell and laughed a little as I thought, Oh, this one was Andy's. Why did I ever know which of my ducks laid which egg, and why do I remember now, when that duck mysteriously vanished two years ago? I have no idea. 

Andy belonged with a group of fifteen ducklings that my dad bought as an experiment. They were all supposed to be eaten. The eight that lived to adulthood all ended up with names, trained to come when I whistled.
So the Admiral tried again. He brought home two geese. He wisely gave them to my brothers, not me. Haha! they were instantly named: Jack and Fiona. Fiona died of unknown causes. Jack was given to me. I also had, at that time, a chicken and a duckling named Fred and Charlie. Charlie had been the sole duckling to emerge from an incubator full of eggs. I stole Fred from a batch of chicks that were passing through on their way to the livestock sale in town because baby birds can die of loneliness. They also make a lot more noise when they're alone. Though an odd looking trio, Charlie, Fred and Jack all got along tremendously until the tragic deaths of both Charlie and Fred.
 Left to right: Jack, Fred, Charlie.

Alone once again, Jack was moved in with the regular chickens, where he made himself at home. And a nest. And laid some eggs. We took pity on him, and replaced his eggs with good ones. Jack Frost only had kittens,  Jack the goose had ducklings! 
Jack and Flit

And that's where leaving the shells on the shelf for two years gets me.