Sunday, January 29, 2012

Minnesota Fringe Festival...ACK!!!

Soooo...I'm in another show...maybe...

My friend Kris, who once "encouraged" me to audition for a show with her and another friend (neither of whom got in, leaving me to be in it alone), auditioned for a Fringe Festival show called "A Capella Love", an ensemble piece with eight cast members, focusing on the various aspects of falling into (and out of) love. 

After her audition, the director said they needed tenors.  She suggested me, and the director said to contact him.  I did, and auditioned the day before Christmas (with the composer "Skype-ing" in from Los pressure there...!). 

Kris and I made it to callbacks, which were on January 16th.  I got cast.  She didn't.  So...ONCE AGAIN...I'm doing a show that she's not in.  Perhaps I should start paying her a "finders fee"...WHEN I'M NOT MAD AT HER ANYMORE FOR, YET AGAIN, GETTING ME INVOLVED IN SOMETHING FOR WHICH I'M ALL BY MYSELF...!!!! 

All kidding aside, because I really AM grateful for the chance to be a part of this...I'm TERRIFIED!  The music is REALLY difficult, and will involve getting everything memorized before our first "official" rehearsal in April or May.  FOURTEEN songs...fourteen DIFFICULT songs...ugh!

I've started going through the music (besides the snippets I learned for the audition and callback), but am having a difficult time getting motivated to put much effort into it yet. With the Fringe Festival, all shows are put into a "lottery".  Not all shows get I guess I don't want to put too much effort into it until I know we're "in".

It's frustrating to think that I've made it this far (auditions and callbacks)...worked this hard...been this stressed...and we might not even get to do it! The lottery is Monday, February 13th at the Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis...wish us luck!!!

Even though I AM freaked out, I can't wait to learn my part.  I'm playing "Wesley", the cynic. The songs are really well written, and will TOTALLY stretch me as a singer (and, apparently, a dancer too...ack!!!!).  It's such a weird thing to be "fleshing out" a character for the first time EVER.  When the director called to say that I'd been cast, he also said that they had written "my" song earlier that day!  I've never had a song written specifically with me in mind...pretty cool!!!!

I'm also a little freaked out about the rehearsal schedule.  We will be having daytime AND evening rehearsals to start...which presents a problem...since I have a job!  I guess I know what I'm doing with all of my "personal days" and "comp time" this year...!

Hmmmmm...I guess I should calm down until February 13th...'s hoping YOU succeeded at a recent challenge, and that YOU are pursuing something you love as well!!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dining Room UPGRADE!!!

I FINALLY found dining room chairs that weren't

B.  TOO UGLY!!!!

Menards was having a sale, and I got each chair for $30.00!  Not sure how long they'll last, but they sure look good NOW!!!!



NICE to get away from the 80's/90's BLAH, and move toward something a little more stylish!

Here's hoping YOU were able to make a "spiffy" upgrade recently too!!!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

St. Simon's Island, Georgia!!!

Duane and I were able to spend the last few days of 2011 on St. Simon's Island, of my FAVORITE places on earth (and where, in the waters of the Atlantic, I want my ashes scattered after I die...which is funny since I've had a fear of water since I was three...but that's another post...!).

Looking back through Duane's travel journal, we haven't been to St. Simon's in about EIGHT years!  To get there, we have to fly into Jacksonville, Florida, and the flights are ALWAYS full.  We just haven't been able to make it work...until now...which was PERFECT timing...I needed the opportunity to get OUT of Minnesota for a few days!

We were able to fly first class from Minneapolis (which is always delightful), and arrived in Jacksonville.  We rented a car, and headed north to Georgia (with, OF COURSE, stops at the Florida Citrus of the MOST obnoxious tourist traps EVER (but I LOVE it!), a Waffle House for a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich (to go), and a gas station that still sells Stuckey's merchandise).

There have been a TON of changes on the island since our last visit!  Instead of a stop light on Frederica Road there is now a roundabout...the fish store is now a bbq restaurant, the Piggly Wiggly is gone, the donor bricks around the whale sculpture have been replaced by a bronze plaque, and our hotel, the Ocean Inn & Suites wasn't even THERE last time we were on the island! 

Luckily, MANY things are still as they were before...the village and the pier are mostly the same (with a few different shops), the lighthouse is still there, the King and Prince Hotel hasn't changed at all, Mullet Bay and 4th of May are still there, and the beaches are still MAGNIFICENT!!!!

We arrived around 4:00, checked into the hotel, then started exploring.  The sun was shining, it was 65 degrees, and everything was clean and shiny...gotta LOVE "off season" travel!

We shopped the village, walked along the beach by the lighthouse, drove to the Winn Dixie (because we LIKE exploring grocery stores in the places we visit!), then headed down Frederica Road to have dinner at Bennie's Red Barn Dinner Club. 

I had an ENORMOUS ribeye steak and baked potato, and Duane had the shrimp and steak platter...also enormous!  The barn has a HUGE fireplace at the back of the dining room and had a GORGEOUS Christmas tree in the middle.  It was a lovely dinner.

After that, we drove back to the village, started to walk out onto the pier (then turned around because it was REALLY, REALLY cold and windy), then went back to the hotel.

Friday morning we were up and out early. We walked out onto the pier (it was warmer and not windy this time!),

hit Sweet Mama's for coffee, then drove out to Christ Church.  As we were walking around the cemetary, a church member, who was leading a tour a little later, asked if we'd like to go inside the church.  I've never been inside (on ANY of the six trips I've made to the island), so said YES, and we proceeded to get a private tour of the sanctuary...TOTALLY cool!

It was GORGEOUS, and the history of the church was really interesting.  We saw the Tiffany stained glass window, heard about the other stained glass windows, saw where FOUR different presidents have sat throughout the years (including Jimmy Carter, and George and Barbara Bush), and enjoyed the salty comments about "Yankees" and the work of Charles and John Wesley on the island from our guide.

After the tour, we walked to the cross commemorating the Wesley visits (no one ever mentions that Charles left the island in 1737 "with an utter despair of doing good there"...), then headed back to the village for lunch at 4th of island institution.

After lunch we headed to the beach.  We've never been to Georgia in the winter, and I must say the lack of humidity was nice...except that the breezes off the beach were REALLY chilly.  We saw an AWESOME piece of driftwood that a local had decorated for Christmas.  It was a very popular "photo op" for all the people walking along the included!

After a walk down the beach, we headed back to the hotel, then went to the top of the lighthouse to enjoy the view.  The ticket office and gift shop are now in a new building to the side of the lighthouse, which was another change, but a good one...the gift shop is bigger and had more cool stuff in it. 

The lighthouse keepers residence (at the base of the lighthouse) is now all museum, and included a section on Eugenia Price, a local author, and the reason any of us started going to St. Simon's in the first place.  Had Scott S. not read her books (set on the island), and fallen in love with the place through her writing, he wouldn't have visited the island, and none of us would have come along for the AMAZING ride!!!!!

After the lighthouse, we took a walk down the beach near the pier,

then headed to Southern Soul BBQ (formerly the fish market on Frederica Road).  It was featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives", and was REALLY, REALLY good!  I had the barbecuban (barbecued beef in a cuban pressed sandwich), and deep fried green!  Really good food!  If you GO to St. Simon's, GO to Southern Soul!!

Saturday morning, we got up, packed, checked out, took one last walk along the beach near the lighthouse, then headed to Waffle House for a parting breakfast.  I had the "usual" (bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with hash browns "scattered, smothered, and peppered"), then we headed to Jacksonville to fly back to Minnesota.

SOOOOO lovely to spend the end of December in shorts and flip flops walking along beaches, climbing the 129 steps to the top of the lighthouse, and enjoying a laid back, relaxing, DELIGHTFUL coastal getaway.

Here's hoping YOU were able to spend the last part of 2011 enjoying a place that YOU adore too!