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I am going home for Thanksgiving this year. That's a bit of a change of plans, as my family has come to my house for the past few years, but I guess the price of not having to clean is having to travel. It's a bit complicated, involving trains and handing off my car to my brother, but I'll be there for a few days. I haven't been doing so well mental-health-wise lately, so honestly the whole idea makes me tired, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to rest and relax at least for a little while I'm home.

I've been turning over the idea of a new writing project recently, in the effort of breaking out of my comfort zone and giving myself something to encourage me on the subject of my creative work. I've started to feel kind of low about it, and I think I have to try something new. Maybe the next week with no lessons to plan or rehearsals to hold and minimal essays to grade, I'll have a little time to work on it. We'll see.
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I don't know where this came from all of a sudden. It's not exactly seasonally-appropriate. But a little Hawking scene popped into my head tonight, and I scribbled it down in a few minutes just for amusement's sake. It's probably never going to fit into any of the plays, but it was an opportunity for some cute character moments, and one really fun line. It's nice to see them just in a low-stakes character moment that's purely fun and sweet, rather than all mired in drama.

It made me smile; I hope it does you too. 😁

Three Ships, a Mrs. Hawking scene )
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My favorite Christmas memory, possibly my favorite memory of my childhood-- of which I honestly don't have many --was from this one Christmas Eve party my parents threw when I was small. It wasn't from the party itself, but from the preparation during the day preceeding.

I don't remember how old I was, but less than ten years old. We lived in San Jose, California, which is near San Francisco. And I remember my dad and I went all around the city buying the supplies for the party. We went to the fish market on Race Street, crowded with people waving their number tickets, to pick up the seven fishes we needed for the Italian tradition. We went to the butcher shop, where we bought an actual prime rib for the centerpiece of the meal. We went to the wine store, where I thought the shopping carts were oddly child-sized for a place full of adult beverages. And we went to an artisanal chocolate shop, where there was a woman sitting in the window with a sheet of melted chocolate before her, rolling little chocolate candies by hand. Little Phoebe, then obsessed with chocolate, had her eyes bug out of her head at the thought that was somebody's job, and being in awe that she could resist licking her fingers.

That party was amazing. My parents went all out, with the food, the decorations, tons of people. My Mom wore her hair in waves and wore a green velvet dress. Some people remarked at the time that it was the best meal they'd ever eaten. But as fun as the party was, the part that stayed with me the most was that shopping trip, holding my dad's hand, going all over the city to get just the right stuff.

Someday I want to throw a holiday party like that. Where I do that level of decorating and cooking for my loved ones. Where going to all the different specialty shops is part of the celebrating.

Maybe someday with my own kid.

Punkinhead

Nov. 2nd, 2015 06:00 am
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My mother loved Halloween.

My earliest childhood was in San Jose, California, and they took Halloween very seriously there. They decorated like crazy, sometimes so elaborately and realistically they actively scared the smaller kids. I remember one year my mom made this graveyard for our front yard. She cut twenty large pieces of styrofoam into various tombstone shapes. She covered them all with spackle that she mixed with black and gray paint to make them look like stone. And she burned "engravings" into them-- names, symbols, the occasional R.I.P. She used a woodburning tool, which she admitted later was probably a terrible idea because of the fumes from the melting plastic, but it let her carve quickly with a high degree of control. And the stones were all in the names of various figures from pop culture. I don't remember most of them, though they were all pretty clever. What were they? I seem to recall Dick Tracey was one of them. Horror figures-- Dracula, Victor Frankenstein. I can picture the one she made for Swamp Thing very vividly. It has SWAMP THING burned across the top, and a neat little stylized symbol of a hand reaching up out of a swamp.

She set them out in our yard at semi-regular intervals. She strewed around dead flowers and fake spiderwebs. It looked amazing. I wish we still had them.

She also couldn't pronounce "pumpkin" properly. She said "punkin." It makes me smile.
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My family came to my house for Thanksgiving again. It was nice, a low-key day spent with my dad, my brother, and Casey's girlfriend Sarah. It was also the first Thanksgiving since my mom died. They say that the first round of holidays without the lost person is the hardest. It was certainly strange; she's been in my thoughts even more so than usual lately, but I don't know if I experienced any more of an emotional dip. Grief has been odd for me. I don't know if I did a lot of my grieving during her long, extremely painful decline, or if it still hasn't totally hit me yet that she's gone forever and never coming back. I miss her and I feel weird, but it hasn't been like everyone says it's supposed to be.

The thing that bugged me the most was we messed up the turkey. We had to figure out how to recreate a number of recipes Mom made up that we've been cooking for years, but at least we had the recipe for that. I know how to cook a whole turkey and have done it three or four times now, but for some reason the turkey this time didn't cook through for a long time. We think it was because Dad transported it up from PA in an industrial cooler than kept it so cold the bottom froze, even though it was a fresh turkey. It was a small mistake and it eventually cooked through without even drying the rest out too badly, but I felt bad about it. But I couldn't shake the feeling that it wouldn't have happened if Mom had been there to run things.

I don't know. Maybe I'm not grieving sufficiently. Maybe I'm numb. Maybe it will explode out of the huge wall of repression keeping it back. Maybe I've done it already. I don't quite know what's going on with it.
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Valentine's Day doesn't mean that much to me, one way or the other. I like it well enough, I think it's a nice idea, especially if you don't have the time or money to do special things more than occasionally. And I certainly don't hate it. But it's never been important to me. I wouldn't mind not doing anything for it.

But there's somebody who's been waiting seven years to take me out for Valentine's Day. I'm happy to make sure that this year he has the shot. :-)

<3
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I am at home in Pennsylvania this week to celebrate Christmas with my family. It is lovely to be hear, and we spent a low-key day today hanging out and cooking. We made our Italian seven-fish dinner, including cheats like shrimp, smoked salmon, crab cake, fried calamari, and our special lobster bisque that we make every year. It's our way of enjoying each other's company and being together, and I like it.

So, after a week of mystery and obfuscation, I'm finally going to tell you about my recent new play. The piece I've been working on is Vivat Regina, the first sequel to Mrs. Hawking. I was rushing to get the first draft at least done this past week because I wanted to submit it in time for the first deadline for Bare Bones, the reading series done by Theatre@First. The first Mrs. Hawking had a reading there to great success, so I thought it would be a good place for the next one as well. Some people at the reading's talkback afterward even wanted to know if there would be sequels, so I think it would be likely to gather an interested audience. I even wanted to have back the three lead actors, Elizabeth Hunter, Gigi Geller, and Ryan Kacani, back to play the recurring characters of Mrs. Hawking, Mary, and Nathaniel.

I was able to get Vivat Regina done to decent results and sent it in, but sadly it was not accepted for the upcoming date. Still, John Deschene, the excellent fellow in charge of the reading series, strongly encouraged me to submit it again, so I think I have a good chance to get chosen later this year. It's by no means the end of the world, but I won't lie, I'm a bit disappointed. I really wanted to get this piece out there sooner rather than later. I mean, I could arrange to have a reading of it myself, but Theatre@First has a sizable audience base that I don't have access to that would come out if it were a Bare Bones reading but not otherwise. I've been struggling to find a good way to get people to go to the Mrs. Hawking website, so its audience base might expand, and I thought directing people who just heard a new reading to it would give it an infusion of interest. It can still do that if I get it accepted with Bare Bones at a later date, but that will be a ways off yet.

This might ultimately be a good thing. I will have plenty of time to edit the script, which, as I mentioned, is still in need of a decent subplot to pad out the length a bit. Maybe with a bit more warning I can ensure I can get Elizabeth, Gigi, and Ryan back, if they are interested and available. I'm kind of bummed about it right now, but ultimately this could be just as well.

If you are interested in reading this early draft and giving an opinion, feel free to let me know, and I will send along a copy of the script. I'd be happy to get new eyes and new opinions, and of course just spread the thing around.

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I am a filthy piglet who does not clean well enough, as evinced by the fact that I did not sufficiently scrub the insert in the silverware drawer.

My cheap-ass dishwasher soap is doing a really lousy job on my glassware. Significantly better results from more expensive stuff suggest I ought to just bite the bullet and shell out.

My oven runs hot. To ensure a perfect top crust on an apple pie, I must cover it with aluminum foil before baking.

As demonstrated by the fact that I do not own a butter dish, I live like a barbarian.

My lack of disposable tableware (paper plates, paper napkins, et cetera) is a clear sign of insanity. See also: my no longer really hearing my loud desktop computer fan.

Boiling water in a kettle and making coffee in a French press counts as "roughing it."

Most people find shower temperatures hot enough to sear your skin an unpleasant experience.

Mom and Dad won't notice the difference between generic and their preferred brands in those cases I took the time to buy the latter, but they of course will notice the difference when I don't.

We can get along in my space together even better than anticipated.

;-)

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My parents are driving in from Allentown today, to spend their first-ever Thanksgiving at my house instead of me coming down to there. With my new job I couldn't get off the time to travel, and my brother has to work Thanksgiving proper, so they figured they'd just come up here and get the chance to see us anyway. They'll even be staying with me at my house, since both my roommates will be out of town. That took a lot of convincing, because they are both overwhelmingly polite and rather private. They think it's bad manners for grown people to stay at their kid's house when the kid has roommates that they can get in the way of, so they thought that they would probably be better off in a hotel. And since mine will be away, I'm glad I convinced them to not spend the money. I cleaned the place from top to bottom, but I'm sure they're worrying about every little thing. They'll probably bring their own towels and things like that, because apparently they refuse to believe that my house has any stuff of any kind. :-P

This also means we'll be cooking Thanksgiving in my kitchen. While I've certainly cooked my share of large meals at this point, and I even recently learned how to make a turkey, I hope that my equipment is up to the job. I can see my parents getting frustrated if they don't think that they have everything they need there. But it will probably be okay.

Thanksgiving is always very low-key holiday for my family. We never have company, it's only just ever been the four of us as an excuse to be together and wear pajamas all day. It's been basically exactly the same since I was a little kid. Honestly I like how chill it is, it means we never have holiday drama. But with this weirdness around plans-- and some back and forth about whether Bernie and possibly his family would plan something with us --is the closest we've ever come. Our families are staying separate, for a lot of reasons but mostly because they keep kosher and it's easier this way, but deciding that was a little more awkward than I realized.

Ah, well. Everything will work out. It'll be nice to be together and eat nice things.

breakinglight11: (Puck 3)
Now that we are officially in October, that means Halloween approaches. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, for the food, for the celebration, and of course, for the costuming. It's funny, though, as much as I love making costumes and having the chance to dress up, I rarely end up coming up with anything all that amazing for Halloween. Last year was the exception, when I built my outfit for Link from The Legend of Zelda, which turned out fun and cute. Usually, however, the arrival of Halloween coincides with doing costume design for a show, or a larp, or something that uses up all of my creativity in that department, and I end up just throwing together some stuff I happen to own to wear for Halloween. I just finished Tom Sawyer, and I just got engaged to work on a production of Jane Eyre, so I think I'm going my usual route. Digging through my various under-utilized pieces I discovered a couple of shiny red dancewear items, and I was struck that I could do a riff on those dancers at Tony Stark's expo in Iron Man 2.

ironette

I know it's hardly creative or original to default to something that shows a lot of skin. But it will be easy to put together and fun to wear, I just need a few touches of gold, and maybe a couple of tap lights to put on my hands. :-) And I'm only going to have this body for a little while longer. I might as well drive it like I stole it while I still can. ;-)
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At last, at last, I have come to a point where I currently have no pressing obligations. And at this point of momentary rest, I thought I'd go over the status of things going on in my life.

As of yesterday, my NYC production of Work-Life Balance is completed. We did a good job, we had a pretty full audience, and we got home safe and sound. I’m really proud of us, and grateful to everyone who helped.

I handed in my graphic novel Lame Swans on Friday. It is nominally finished, but because I ran out of time I didn’t get a chance to edit the images as carefully as I wanted to, so I will likely wait to debut it on my blog or elsewhere until I can remedy that. But I am pretty happy with how it came out, and my teacher said I did a good job.

That means I am done with school until the next residency, which does not start until January 5th. So I have a blessed respite, albeit a shorter one than I expected to. And part of that will be going home for Christmas, yay! I am looking forward to being home and not having anything to worry about except maybe eating too much pie.

The auditions held by Jessica Rose Fielding, the director for The Late Mrs. Chadwick, is happening today in New York. Here's hoping things go nicely, and she finds actors she likes!

Sadly, there will be no ballet classes again until the new year. I am sorry to go without so long, but I'm going to try to practice on my own. Also, I will be going to see The Nutcracker at the Boston Ballet this Wednesday, which I'm really psyched about. God, I love high ballet, and I'm a softy for the music.

I have my last sewing class for the Pin-Up Pencil skirt at The Boston Vintage Factory. I have enjoyed it very much and feel like I learned a lot, and I'm probably going to sign up for another class soon.

I'm also going to start taking care of myself again. Eating better, going to sleep on time, and making sure I get enough exercise. Particularly if I won't have ballet class for a couple of weeks.

I also have a few chore-like things to handle, but they are small things. So I plan enjoying myself for a little while, as in, laying around like a giant lump, before I tackle anything big again.

breakinglight11: (Confused Dromio)
perfectpieslice

I have been mostly unplugged for the last few days, hanging out at home with my family mostly doing nothing during a lovely, lazy Thanksgiving vacation. It was exceedingly pleasant to be allowed to briefly be a slug, concerning myself with little beyond sleeping, eating, and letting my parents take care of me. Well, we did make, among other things, a wheel of Swiss cheese from scratch and the world's most perfect apple pie. I helped Dad bottle fifteen gallons of beer. It was a nice change of pace. Alas, now I have returned and it is time to be a grownup again.

Back to my life means back to my responsibilities. I told myself, in order to finally relax, I would not worry about anything over the break, but now I have to get back in gear. The first of which is getting my play, Work-Life Balance, together and organized to go to New York the weekend of December 15th and 16th. I think I have my female actor, but I still need a male actor for the role of Bantam. Any of you talented gentlemen available to come up with me to New York that weekend? If so, drop me an email ASAP at breakinglight11@gmail.com and we'll talk.

I've also finding myself struck with ideas for other projects. I'm sure this is a response to not wanting to deal with my more difficult, pressing responsibilities, but it's nice to feel inspired. I'm writing them down while I can, in hopes of saving them for when I have more time. It's so funny, since I've been feeling stretched to the limit of my creativity with all the writing I've done lately, but I'm glad to know I still have some neat stuff in me.
breakinglight11: (Cordelia)
Now that I have sent in the Mrs. Hawking revision, that means I have no more, or minimally more, writing assignments for the rest of the semester. You have no idea how relieved I feel to be able to rest, especially in the wake of a week where my car wouldn't start at one in the morning and my bank card number got stolen and I'm still waiting to get the money back. I need a break from the stress. Today I plan to go home and do nothing except go to ballet class, maybe take a nap and watch some stupid TV. It was be luxurious, though I may not be fully conscious enough to enjoy it.

My parents are coming to visit on Sunday. They will be here with me for a couple of days, then we will all drive home to Allentown for Thanksgiving and the rest of the week. I suggested this is a way to extend our time together, as I can't leave until Tuesday, and this way we can spend the whole week with each other. I'm counting the minutes to when I get to go home, as I will have nothing to do except eat, and hang out with the parents, and eat some more.

What's cool is they are going to help me with my Monday photo shoot for Lame Swans. We're going to pick up my brother and have dinner together, then everyone will help me out. Every member of my family has more photography experience than I do. My mother studied it in art school, and Casey was a photography minor at Emerson and has a professional camera. It'll be nice to have more experienced eyes than mine to help me get good shots. I just need to make sure I have everything in order, amidst my attempts to finally relax.
breakinglight11: (Crawling Dromio)
Awesome 4th of July party this past weekend. The food was delicious, the company was great, and I very much appreciated the chance to swim in the nearby lake. My bikini doesn't get nearly enough time to come out and play; once a year is really not enough. It was one of the best social events I've attended in quite some time. Congrats to [livejournal.com profile] captainecchi and [livejournal.com profile] electric_d_monk for putting it on, they really knocked it out of the park.

The only problem is now I have water in my left ear that won't seem to come out. I have tried every home remedy that friends and the Internet can suggest, and nothing has helped. The pressure's a bit painful, and I can't hear so well on that side. I think it may have reduced slightly since Saturday, but it's still bugging me. This has never happened to me before and I'm quite vexed. The most annoying thing is that it's most comfortable when I lie on my back and the water shifts to the back of my head; when I'm upright it pools downward and is painful. I was extremely prone to ear infections when I was a kid, and I've read that the risk increases the longer the water stays in there, so I may end up seeing a doctor about it just so I don't have to put up with it anymore. Not the momento I was hoping to bring home with me from attending a fabulous party.
breakinglight11: (Cordelia)
I hope everyone has as lovely a Christmas as I have had here at my parents' place in Allentown, Pennsylvania. To Mom and Dad's delight, I was lucky enough to get to work from home all this week, so as long as I attend to my computer I am permitted to spend more time with the family. It's very special that we get to spend so much time together, as we rarely have that long a period available. We have had a wonderful holiday so far, cooking wonderful meals and spending quality time together. I'm also planning to use this vacation, the largest chunk of unstructured time I've had or will have for ages, to work on projects and just do the things I want to do. I hope to practice some sewing under my mom's tutelage, exercise every day, play the copy of Skyward Sword Bernie so sweetly gave me, and do as much work as possible on the script for Tailor of Riddling Way. So far I've not done much other than the workouts, but that's because our Christmas celebration has taken up all the time. For the rest of my break I should be able to get to my list of things to do.

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Look at my new friend!

This is my early Christmas present-- early because when my parents came up to Boston, they wanted to drop it off then. I am so excited to use her, and I'm sure this will be great to learn and work on. I think draping sounds fascinating, and a good bodyform is essential for doing it.

Sewing equipment sizing being based on an older system, as you can see I got an eight. That's a wee bit bigger than I actually am, but my mom suggested it would be better to work on something slightly too big than slightly too small, and Heaven knows there's only one way we go as we get older.

She needs a name now so I can properly refer to her. I want something old fashioned, a fine old lady sort of name. Suggestions welcome, of course. I look forward to telling you about sticking her with pins and covering her with my crude draping attempts. :-)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

breakinglight11: (Cordelia)
Much as I love Christmas, there aren't many cheesy pop culture traditions that I like. I'm not into big tacky decorations, I despise popular Christmas music, I hate how consumerist and stuff-oriented it is. But I fucking love A Christmas Carol. I love the original story, and I cannot deny that I have enjoyed nearly every major film version I have ever seen.

The story has become so popular and famous that fact actually overshadows how great it really is. Beautiful and witty writing, with a playfulness that eases the possibly saccharine tone without undercutting the sentiment of the story. If you've never read it, I recommend that you do, if only for the opening paragraph, that is a really funny little stream-of-consciousness reflection on how incredibly dead Marley is, dead as a doornail, though why that's the deadest piece of ironmongery, Mr. Dickens really has no idea. :-)

It's almost silly how many of these that are special to me. I love Mickey's Christmas Carol, with Scrooge MacDuck, one of my all-time favorite Disney characters, playing the central role for which he was named. I love The Muppet Christmas Carol, starring Michael Caine with the lovely touch of Gonzo serving as the Charles Dickens-stand-in narrator. I love the solemn, serious, straight-up version made to showcase Patrick Stewart. I particularly love the TV movie version that came out in 2005 starring one of my most favorite actors Kelsey Grammer, with songs by Alan Menken, that is a well-made and truly moving piece of musical theater.

The way they cast their own characters in the story's roles really make it for me. Of course Kermit and Mickey play the softy role of Bob Crachit. Bean Bunny in the cameo as the boy in the street. I love Donald in the charmingly parallel role of Scrooge's nephew Fred. Moley and Ratty from Wind in the Willows as the two gentlemen from the charity. Scrooge's first boss "Fozziwig." Pete as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

It's such a charming story, very universal even though its setting is Christmas, about how sympathy and understanding for one's fellow man can redeem an old sinner, about keeping the spirit of goodwill toward men. Yeah, it's kind of cheesy, and certainly has been done to death. But I love the idea that there is pity and compassion buried in even the hardest heart, and that "a life can be made right."

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Hope you all have had as happy a Thanksgiving as I have. <3

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Avengers, assemble... in Phoebe's bedroom

Had my Halloween celebration this past Saturday. Here are our Avengers assembled, with me as Black Widow, Jane as Loki, Bernie as Captain America, Mac as Bruce Banner, Jared as Iron Man, Mike as Nick Fury, and Matt as Hawkeye. This is the first year I participated in the group costume, so I was drafted into being Black Widow to fill out the group. Black Widow was easier and I didn't feel like doing a Wasp costume, though it would have been fun to have an Antman action figure in my pocket that I could periodically pull out and go "Say hello, Hank." I confessed I kind of half-assed it, using my black leotard, leggings, tall boots, and the cell phone holster Rachel gave me. As usual, by the time Halloween rolls around I'm too burnt out from everything else to make the costume a priority. Still, I managed to spray my hair with red temporary color, thanks to some help from Steph. It flaked off on everything and stained the skin on my back, but it sort of made me look more like Natasha Romanov.
The evening was lovely, so I'll just include some more fun costume pics. )

breakinglight11: (Easy Fool)
Today I flew home to spend Easter with my mom and dad. I'd been looking forward to it, as I haven't seen them in a long time and after the busy month I've had so far it will be nice to just go with the flow of family time and not have to run around or plan things. So, with a few days ahead of me of nothing more to do than hang out with my mom and dad and let them feed me until I explode, I would like to get something of my own projects done. *Sigh*As much as I crave free time with nothing particular to do, I am compelled to do things. And now I am finding myself planning out the things I would like to do. Not necessarily just over this little Easter break, but other things in the near future.

First and foremost, I want to get started with writing on some plays. I would like to get a head start on things for graduate school, which begins for me at the end of June, by getting to work on one of the major theatrical pieces I have envisioned. The first, I think, will be the Justinian and Theodora project I have been mulling over. I want to start by working out the plot as completely as possible before actually doing the real writing work, but I have a speech in my head that I would like to get out on paper in the near future. Plesser has agreed to act the piece out for me once it is finished, as i find him an excellent choice for this character, so I can hear it performed and improve it based on that.

Another thing that has recently come on my radar is an invitation to audition again for the Gazebo Players of Medfield, the theater group I did Love's Labor's Lost with last summer. I have been wanting to get back to acting, and they're doing Comedy of Errors, a show I enoy. I would like it if I could find some other friends to come out with me this time-- any actors going to be around this summer interested in doing a Shakespeare with me? On a related note, whenever anybody hears about Shakespeare auditions from here onward, please let me know. I really do want to keep at it and continue doing Shakespearean theater. I actually think that the Actor's Shakespeare Project is supposed to be having auditions soon, even one for non-Equity actors, and I'm wondering if it might not be interesting to at least give it a shot. I'm sure I wouldn't get in, given all the professionals I'd be up against, but wouldn't it be a lark if I did. ;-) I think I will look more into that, gather a little more information at least.

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