Wednesday, March 31, 2010


My dear friend Dee just sent me the GREATEST gift!  She's a quilter, and had mentioned awhile back that she was going to make me a "lap quilt", and send it off when it was finished.  I told her that I would knit her a couple of scarves to "return the favor".

Wow...I TOTALLY got the good end of this deal, because the scarves that I did (two) were nice, but the quilt she sent me is a WORK OF ART!

Here it is:

I think I need to make her another eight or nine scarves to "even out" the deal!  GORGEOUSNESS!

Thanks Dee!!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

NOT Maplewood's Newest Singing Star

Aye carumba!  There is a lot of AMAZING talent in the Twin Cities "non-professional" singing world!  Last night's show was AWESOME (even if I didn't win). 

Me getting "in the mood" at home before the show!

I was COMPLETELY nervous, and freaked out, and tense right up until my song was finished.  I don't think I will EVER do one of these shows again...I spent all day (and the two weeks before last night) playing the cd of my song over and over and over and over, and still went blank just before I went on stage.  I got through it, it went well, and I NAILED my last few notes, but the tempo just wasn't where it was supposed to be, so it threw me off a little bit (suggestion for next year...let the soloists have more rehearsal time with the band...running through it the night of the show isn't enough, and adds BUNCHES to the nervousness...). backtrack a little bit.  My "styling session" at the salon was scheduled for 5:00, so I headed over to Maplewood.  My stylist was AWESOME.  I told her I was singing a showtune, so to give me a look that didn't make me look TOO gay (ha!).  I also asked if any of the other people in the salon were contestants, and she said "all of them", so I got a chance to scope out some of the competition. 

My "styling session" lasted exactly THREE MINUTES.  The cool thing is that that's all the time she needed to make me look COMPLTELY hot (not really, but it was a good look, and I'm going to try to do it myself).

Getting finished so quickly gave me an hour to kill, so I drove all the way to the theater, then realized I still had 53 minutes to kill, so headed to Maplewood mall, and walked around a bit, then headed back to the theater.  My friend Katy was also a finalist, so it was GREAT to have her to sit with and wait.  We all had a chance to run part of our song with Joan, the accompanist, and the band (bass and drums).  For some reason they decided not to put drums and bass in my song, so I just had piano...not sure WHY, because the drum would have been a nice touch, but OH WELL...

Katy and me before the show

This is the point where I started getting COMPLETELY freaked out...EVERYONE was AMAZING!  Warm-up after warm up was FABULOUS!  Each and every person was AWESOME!  From a "show" standpoint...TOP NOTCH.  From a "contestant"standpoint CRAPPOLA!  (I was SERIOUSLY trying to figure out where the nearest exit was so that I could get the heck out of there!).

After warmups, we got our performance order (out of 15 singers I had to go 4th...which SUCKS...if you're anywhere in the first 6 or 7, people don't even remember you sang by the end), and the show began.  My time to sing came WAY too quickly (me still clutching the sheet music backstage to go over the words!), and I "did my thing".  It actually went really well, tempo aside, and, as I said before, I NAILED my last few high notes, but then, as a stall tactic for the judges to get their scorecards filled out, the emcee asked us a few questions. (Ugh!).  My questions: 
  • What's your favorite color?  (" blue, dark blue, all shades of blue".  How DUMB did THAT sound?). 
  • If you had a million dollars, what would you spend it on?  ("A big house on a lake in lovely Minnesota"  SERIOUSLY, was I on drugs?). 
  • Do you know any good Minnesota/ Iowa jokes? ("I do, but I can't remember any of them right now, and in Iowa we do Iowa/Missouri jokes."  Kill me now.)
AFTER my fabulous song, and DIMWITTED Q&A, I went back stage to wait (two hours) for everyone else to sing, for the audience to vote, for the judges to tally their votes, and for Alison Scott (a local singer) to perform a few numbers.  We all then marched out on stage, and the winner (not me) and runner up (also not me) were announced. (What would I do with 20 hours in a recording studio, with no band, or songs, or any idea of what to DO in the studio, or a "rock star" makeover, anyway...??!!).

Duane and me after the show

Overall, it was a GREAT experience, and it was really fun to be on stage (terror aside), and I had a fairly large number of friends from both school AND theater productions in the audience.  I met some really great people who were competing, and it was great to see Katy, and I LOVE the Maplewood theater, so it WAS a good I'm NOT ever repeating again!

Kristin, me, and Kim after the show

Rachel and me out for drinks (I needed one!) after the show

Me and Sarah (Pat's friend from Willmar)

Rachel, Kris, and me "sharing a moment"

Here's hoping YOU are being a risk-taker (to use the PYP lingo from school), and that you are meeting new people as you go through your days too!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Step Up to the Mic" FREAKOUT!!! I'm TRYING to remember that I'm old, and I'm TRYING to remember that it's just a little contest that, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't mean much, and I'm TRYING to approach the whole thing with a sense of calm, and decorum, but I'M TOTALLY FREAKED OUT ABOUT THE SHOW THIS WEEKEND...!!!!!

Actually, I think I'm okay now, but LAST week was a different story entirely.  Here's how the week played out...

Monday:  FREAKED OUT because I had to go to Maplewood for publicity headshots for the show.  No big deal, except that I just got a BAD haircut, and look like a cross between Eddie Munster and Zippy the Pinhead.  I THINK the shots are fine (haven't seen them yet), but as I was leaving, one of my "competitors" walked in. SERIOUSLY...he's like TWELVE, and had a "faux hawk" (which, in my opinion looks a little STUPID). I THOUGHT about snarling at him, and making a comment like "I'm going to chew you up, spit you out, and stomp on your remains", but didn't think it would be very "sportsmanlike" to do so...

Tuesday:  With headshots out of the way, I was free to FREAK OUT about not having the sheet music.  The audition was 60 seconds of an a capella song, and I didn't figure I'd make it past the audition round, so didn't need to worry that the sheet music didn't exist.  Well, I DID make it through the audition round, and now had NO IDEA where to find the sheet music that I now needed.

After talking to SEVERAL musician friends, I found a LOVELY site called, and was THRILLED to find that you can print out the song that you choose in whatever key you need it.  UNFORTUNATELY, I didn't know what key that was, so I spent a GREAT part of Tuesday in our music teacher's room learning about keys and ranges (and something about "if DO is here, RE is here, and SO and LA fall here on the bass and treble cleff") (I have NO idea what she was talking about).

I got the proper key (or keys...I ended up printing the song in FOUR different ones), and now have the sheet music to give to the accompanist.  It's not the EXACT accompaniment, but I'm hoping Joan can "tweak it" a little bit to make it sound like the CD version that I've been practicing with (John Barrowman's "Reflections From Broadway").

Wednesday (actually LATER Tuesday night):  With sheet music printed, cut and pasted (it didn't have the key change that John does on his CD, so I had to cut and paste two versions together), I suddenly had the intense realization that I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!!!

So...Wednesday was spent trying to put things together to look HIP and NOW and MUSICAL.  I MOSTLY ended up looking like a cross between Liberace and Barry Mannilow...NOT what I was going

I went to Goodwill on Wednesday afternoon and found a couple of suit jackets that looked cool (bought three for a total of $27.00!!!).  I figured that I would wear the jacket with jeans and a cool shirt, but COULDN'T find a cool shirt...tried Kohl's and a couple of other places, and found ONE that I liked, but was still not sure which jacket I wanted to wear, so bought the one I liked (and a pair of shoes, because you might as well take care of the TOTAL outfit, right??!!).

Thursday: I had to go to a coordinators meeting at the Minnesota Dept. of Education, so decided to go to Woodbury after it was over to see what they had at H&M...which ended up being NOTHING, since the Woodbury store only carries GIRL'S clothing.  I stopped in Express Men, but felt like a COMPLETE grandfather, as I was the oldest person in the store, so didn't stay long.

I gave up, and headed to Trader Joes to stock up on goodies...except I didn't get much, because I'm still on this BLASTED diet (although I DO look good, and HAVE lost 15 pounds, so I really can't complain).

Friday:  Duane and I went to the Mall of America (ack!) to continue looking for that shirt.  I went to Express Men (again!), but decided that I didn't CARE if I was the oldest person there...I needed a shirt, and I was going to find one...damn it!

UNFORTUNATELY, I found TWO that I liked.  It's not unfortunate that I found them, but unfortunate that I found that I REALLY like Express Men, because their stuff is EXPENSIVE!!!  Each shirt cost around $60.00 (!!??), but I had a "$30.00 off" coupon, so the bill wasn't as BAD as it could have been...

Here are the two "shirt/jacket possibilities"...leave a "comment" to this post with the one that you like best...

Saturday: In the midst of the computer virus fiasco (see previous blog entry), I had to go to Maplewood to practice with Joan, the accompanist.  I've worked with Joan before, so it's good to have a familiar face involved with this whole crazy thing, but, as I got there another of the competitors ( 19 years old...what the heck??!!) was practicing "Greatest Love of All".  She had a TERRIBLE cold, and was having trouble getting through the song, but, even with a cold, she sounded AWESOME.  Ack!

My turn came, and I did pretty well, but the microphone was set WAY high, and I'm really loud, so it blasted the entire room (no one was there to set the levels).  I only rehearsed with Joan...not the drummer, guitarist, or bass player, so, the first time I work with any of them will be at the pressure there...!!!!!

I also met another of the competitors ( 23) as I was leaving.  I didn't get to hear her sing, but I'm sure she's amazing too.

Ack!  What have I gotten myself into???  There are some REALLY awesome singers in this competition, and I'm, like, 900 years old...ack again!

No worries...I'm REALLY trying to be calm this week, and NOT freak out that a horrible, terrible, sore-throaty cold bug is working it's way through my school (my media secretary even has it...and I'm feeling a little doomed).  I'm taking vitamin C, and "Airborne", and saying LOTS of prayers!!!!

Wish me luck...I probably won't post again until after it's all over, and I'm either a COMPLETE AND UTTER LOSER, or Maplewood's newest STEP UP TO THE MIC star (which will get me a "rock star makeover", 20 hours in a professional recording studio, a "press ready" headshot packet, and an appearance at the "Taste of Maplewood" celebration in August!!!!).

Monday, March 22, 2010

Computer Viruses SUCK!

So...I spent the ENTIRE weekend running virus scans, diagnostics, and internet patches because STUPIDLY, I clicked on a Facebook link from a "friend", which turned out to be the koobface virus.  When a computer is infected, it sends out messages to everyone on the "friend list", and whoever clicks on the link, gets the virus.

I've never had a computer virus before, because I, SMUGLY, thought "I'm too smart to get a virus".  Lesson learned.  New CRAP is being added DAILY, and, unless you keep up with the current threats, it's a never ending battle to stay safe.

I'm annoyed, because SERIOUSLY it took Duane and me the ENTIRE weekend to purge the damn thing.  I'm STILL not completely sure it's gone, but, things are running quicker, and no one has reported any Youtube e-mails from me (the virus is embedded in a youtube link), so I'm HOPING it's gone.

SERIOUSLY...if these MORONS who create computer viruses just "for the heck of it" would exert their energy for GOOD rather than EVIL, the world would be a MUCH better place in which to live!!!!

Here's hoping YOU haven't had to deal with the "SCUM OF THE EARTH", and that your computer remains virus free. 

In case you might have a hidden virus, I highly recommend the free virus scanner at  I think it's the one (out of the TWELVE that I tried) that finally caught it...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Step Up to the Mic" Audition- Part 1

So...I learned something today.  You should ALWAYS double check the audition time BEFORE the actual day of the audition. 

I spent MOST of the weekend prepping for "Step Up to the Mic" in Maplewood this afternoon.  At 2:00, I thought that I should probably MAKE SURE there wasn't anything I was missing (resumes, headshots, a ball point pen).  Lucky I did, because, the audition that I THOUGHT was at 3:40 was at 2:40.  I had just enough time to throw on my audition clothes, fill my water bottle, find my shoes, and run to the car.

OF COURSE, I got behind every driver's license carrying member of the "I Can't Go Over 10 miles an Hour or My Head Might Explode" club, but managed to get there about 10 minutes before my "audition time" was to start.  It's a REALLY long 40 minute drive when you are CRAWLING there...

There were two other people waiting to audition, but somehow I managed to be the first one called (how does THAT work??!!).  I went in, and did my thing...all 60 a capella seconds of it (I was DEEPLY chagrined to find that there wasn't a piano, or a pitch pipe to be found). It's a little unnerving to just "pick a note" out of the air, and go for it, but, I did.  After I finished, one of the judges said that I had a very strong voice, and that was that.

Apparently, it was a GOOD strong, because I just got the call a little while ago that out of 100 people who auditioned, I'm one of the final 15!!!!  GULP!!!

I have to call tomorrow to set up an appointment for headshots, then meet with the accompanist on Saturday to run through my number, then have a dress rehearsal next week, and the show is a week from next Saturday (I even get a "stylist" to make me look spiffy!).

What have I gotten myself into....??!!  I'm nauseous already!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pizza Peel for Tena


Here's a picture of a COUPLE of pizza peels...mine is the one on the right!!!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nothing to Say!

Haven't blogged for a couple of weeks, but I REALLY have nothing to add at this point...I work, I sleep, it's snowy and brown and cold and yucky, and I'm just not motivated to do much of ANYTHING!!!

I'm SUPPOSED to sing in the "Step Up to the Mic", American Idol-type talent contest this weekend, but I've been procrastinating on learning my audition song, and JUST TONIGHT, after watching a LAME performance by "Celtic Thunder" on TPT, decided that I COULD DO WAY BETTER, so AM going to audition...IF I can get the song memorized by this weekend.

I'm crabby, and tired, and a little depressed...

Spring needs to come soon...